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National Day celebrations at Katara Cultural Village

Date and Venue: December 13 – 19 from 04:00 pm – 10:00 pm at Katara Cultural Village

Entry Free

Experience the sense of patriotism on National Day celebrations at Katara Cultural Village that is offering exciting array of cultural activities and artistic performances. The organisers promise first-of-its-kind events and activities, including performances by paratroopers, theatrical play by Qatari youth,  a mosaic painting of Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, entertainment’ train, dancing’ fountain, stunning decorations and lots more.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of fun-filled gathering in ongoing celebrations.

Qatar National Day celebrations at The Pearl-Qatar

Date and Venue: December 15 to 18. Daily from 06:00 pm onwards at 6 & 7 La Croisette, Porto Arabia, The Pearl

Entry Free

Qatar’s National day celebrations are in full swing with various activities lined up for the next few days. The Pearl is decorated in glitter and glory, displaying cultural symbols. Various recreation and social activities are planned attracting large number of visitors.

The four-day event will include Arabic-style tents serving dates and traditional coffee, dedicated spaces  for children to play and colour their faces with National Day-inspired designs, Mascots portraying traditional cartoon characters, falcons on display, Folkloric ‘Arda’ performances and henna drawing.  This is one of the most exciting times of the year and marks the beginning of celebrations that will last till the year end.

Driven by German Design Exhibition

Date and Venue: October 13 – 14 January 2018. Daily from 09:00am to 07:00pm, except Fridays – 01:30pm to 07:00 pm at Qatar Museums Gallery, Al Riwaq

 Entry free

Driven by German Design opened in October as part of the Qatar-German year of Culture, 2017. The exhibition is organised by Qatar Museums, German Embassy in Doha and the Goethe-Institut Gulf Region.

The vast exhibition space was curated by renowned museum director, Prof. Dr. Martin Roth. It features marvellous sights of numerous design objects loaned from some of Germany’s most significant cultural institutions, such as the Vitra Design Museum, Neue Sammlung, Porsche Museum and Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt.

The exhibition highlights development of German designs since 1950, from diverse fields, including product and graphic design, architecture, furniture, fashion and automotive design, including some of the rare sight objects like iPhones, cameras and most iconic cars ever to have been designed. Porsche 911 Turbo, Volkswagen Golf and Käfer as a major attraction.

‘Design laboratory’ erases the difference between abstract and real, featuring interactive technologies and prototypes making victor’s experience all the more entertaining.

Exploring Expression by Fahad Al Obaidly

Date and Venue: December 16  – 16 January 2018. Daily from 09:00 am – 07:00 pm at W Doha Hotel & Residences

Entry Free

Abstract is an immediate relief from the realities we experience. It brings on a whole new world with no pre-defined discourse. If you are looking for such a line of flight, this may be your immediate choice. Set free your imagination with awakening vibrancy of colours by Fahad Al Obaidly, an artist who believes that art is a way to free world. He has put in efforts to underline ‘identity crises’ in his work. His art brings about his urge to portray the instability individuals face in the contemporary globalised arena that has taken away the sense of true self, alienating them even in a crowd.

Qatar Superstock 600 at Losail Circuit Sports Club

Date and Venue: December 15 – 16. From 09:00 am onwards at Losail Circuit Sports Club

Entry Free (for spectators)

If you are looking to increase the torque of your regular life, Qatar SuperStock 600 (QSTK600) is a perfect stop. The road racing championship organized by Qatar Motor Motorcycle Federation and Losail Circuit Sports Club is an exciting championship in which participants will use the best of their racing skills using one-make bike that will be used for the rest of the season. It will be a stocked 600cc bike.

This year, Qatar Superstock 600 Championship will have a new class QSTK Trophy that will be exclusively open to riders who achieve their best lap time of 2.09 minutes at the Losail International Circuit with a 600cc bike, or 2.07 minutes with a 1000cc bike, in five rounds. Join the thrill.

Car Stunt Show at Aspire Zone

Date and Venue: December 8 – 6 January.  Daily three shows: 2:30 pm, 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm at the Aspire Zone, New Driving School Park.

Entry Fee: 100 QAR per person and children under 5 have free entry

This is a walk-in event showcasing thrilling stunts by experts and participants. If you are looking for an exciting show of technique and speed producing stimulating visions of man and machine, this is the place to be at.

Live Performance by Allan Pineda Lindo / Apl De Ap

 

Date and Venue: December 15 – 16 from 08:00 pm – 02:00 am at The St. Regis, Doha

Entry Fee: Regular -250 QAR and VIP -500 QAR

Performance by Allan Pineda Lindo, professionally known as Apl De Ap, is a Filipino-American musician, rapper, singer, and record producer. He is best known as a member of the Grammy Award-winning hip hop group, The Black Eyed Peas.

Join the night to Hip and Hop on energetic tunes of world class DJ and striking performance by the Filipino- American singer.

 

 

Gas blast

Nada Badawi

With reporting from Riham Sheble

A lower criminal court in Doha convened this morning to hear two witnesses discuss the events leading to a gas explosion in February that killed 11 people and injured 42 others.

Four men are on trial for what happened, and all have plead not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, involuntary/accidental harm and the damaging of property belonging to others. They are:

  • A foreman for Woqod (an Indian expat);
  • A supervisor for the Qatar Gas Group (an expat from Egypt);
  • And two Turkish employees who worked for Istanbul Restaurant, where the blast originated.

The men were initially jailed after the blast, but are now free pending the verdict. It is unclear if they have returned to work.

The two people who testified today both worked for the Qatar Gas Group, a Woqod contractor with no relation to the state-backed liquified natural gas (LNG) producer.

Communication failure

They spoke about the company’s role in overhauling Istanbul Restaurant’s gas lines so that it would be up to Civil Defense standards, which became stricter following the deadly 2012 Villaggio mall fire.

The Qatar Gas Group was also tasked with outfitting the restaurant with safety precautions, such as an alarm that goes off in the event of a gas leak.

The work was apparently carried out from August 2013 to December 2013. Following a preliminary inspection by Woqod that month, Qatar Gas Group employees said they made requested changes and completed their work by mid-January 2014.

But the witnesses added that they did not know if Woqod conducted any additional inspections to the eatery before it opened, as they did not hear from the company after making the changes.

What happened

The communication breakdown between the two companies may have contributed to the blast, which took place inside of a petrol station complex in Duhail (near Landmark Mall) on Feb. 27.

Istanbul Restaurant was closed and vacant at the time of the accident, and the majority of those killed and injured were eating at the nearby Tasty eatery.

According to a government investigation, the explosion was caused by a pizza oven whose gas had been left on at Istanbul restaurant. The liquified petroleum gas (LPG) was apparently ignited by a spark from a nearby refrigerator inside the eatery.

Because the court will break for the summer soon, it has adjourned the trail until October. During that month, two hearings will take place on Oct. 22 and Oct, 29 so that the more than dozen remaining witnesses can testify.

Among those expected to be heard are representatives of the restaurant and Woqod.

The judge also said that between now and October, the court will get in touch with the injured, asking them to present medical certificates about their physical state.

Thoughts?

Alison Patterson, mother of Lauren Patterson.

Shabina S. Khatri

Alison Patterson, mother of Lauren Patterson.

At this time last year, Alison Patterson was celebrating Mother’s Day in the UK with two of her three children. Her eldest daughter Lauren was working in Qatar, and sent a gift and a card home, as she always did when she was away.

Today, things are very different for the Patterson family. Daughter Lauren was killed in October by acquaintances in Doha, and on Thursday, a criminal court here found two Qatari men responsible for the 24-year-old teacher’s murder.

One of the defendants, 22-year-old Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar, was given a death sentence.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar

Via Alison Patterson

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar

The other, 24-year-old Muhammad Abdullah Hassan Abdul Aziz, was handed a three-year jail term for helping Al-Jabar burn Patterson’s body, which was considered damaging and erasing evidence.

At the time of the sentencing, Alison Patterson told media that “justice was served” in the case of Al-Jabar, but that she was deeply upset with Abdul Aziz’s lighter sentence.

In an interview with Doha News today, Patterson said she is worried that neither of the convicted men will pay for what they did to her daughter.

“Is it something that’s just been said – and that’s never going to happen?” she asked.

At the root of her doubts is a scene she witnessed after Thursday’s verdict inside the courthouse. Patterson had gone in search of her two younger children, and ended up passing a sitting area where the defendants were being held.

“They were just laughing and joking with each other,” she said. “It just almost makes me feels that they were laughing at what happened. They have no respect for the sentence they’ve been given.”

Another issue that troubles her is that Qatar has not executed any prisoners in more than a decade, according to Amnesty International.

Prior to her daughter’s death, Patterson said she never gave the death penalty much thought. But after being told that Al-Jabar sexually assaulted her daughter, stabbed her to death and then attempted to burn her remains at a farm outside of Doha, she said she supported the punishment.

“Lauren came home in a box the weighed 7 kilos,” Patterson said with regards to her daughter’s remains. “She weighed 50 kilos when she died.”

Other questions

Patterson has also been unable to shake an argument she read on a recent blog post about her daughter’s case on “Muslims Worldwide,” which she found while googling Lauren’s name.

The site appears to be full of hate speech about Islam and its adherents, but the post on Patterson struck a chord with Lauren’s mother because it questioned whether the quick sentencing of Al-Jabar was done so that officials could close the book on this crime, which the prosecutor called “heinous, foreign and shocking to a society as conservative as Qatar’s.”

The blog post reads:

“Sharia gives no justice to a kafir (non-Muslim/non-believer). And it never gives a death sentence to a Muslim over a crime committed against a non-Muslim…

So why would they announce the ‘death penalty’ if it is not given out? To appease the media. This case has been circulating all over the world. Arabs can’t stand negative media attention…These Arab countries make bogus claims of justice only to get the media off their back. In reality they keep them in prison and release them after 1-2 years.”

The last sticking point is that the verdicts must pass through two appellate courts here before they’re officially final, meaning closure could be some ways off for Patterson and her family.

Waiting

Speaking to Doha News, Patterson’s partner Kevin Crotty said they were grateful for all the Qatari government has done to ensure a speedy trial.

“They’ve been more than generous and more than reasonable,” he said. “Everything’s been done that should have been done. But them (the defendants) smiling – and the lighter sentence for the second one… Ultimately, we’ve always felt the political angle was there. Is there something that we should worry about?”

The Pattersons’ lawyer, Sami Abu Shaikha, has said he plans to appeal Abdul Aziz’s three-year sentence, asking for a more severe penalty.

Meanwhile, Alison Patterson, who has started smoking again after 15 years due to the stress of all that’s happened, said she knows that whatever the outcome, the pain will likely never go away.

“There will never be peace. (But) I just really don’t want to be let down,” she said.

Thoughts?