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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!

Mark Harkin / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With reporting from Victoria Scott

At least six Gulf-based airlines have announced that they will stop flying to and from Qatar following a diplomatic dispute.

The move will affect the travel plans of thousands of Qatar residents, as well as those passengers who have plans to travel to or through Qatar in the coming days.

Among the airlines are four UAE carriers.

HIA

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Dubai-based Emirates, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad, Air Arabia and the low-cost airline Fly Dubai all confirmed this morning that they will cease routes to Doha from tomorrow (June 6) until further notice.

Saudi’s Jeddah-based national flag carrier Saudia also joined, announcing in Arabic on Twitter this morning that it too is stopping flights to Qatar.

This afternoon, Bahrain’s flag carrier Gulf Air added to the group, announcing on its website that the last of its multiple daily flights from Doha to Manama would be at 8:55pm local time (Bahrain to Qatar) while the final one departing Doha would leave at 10:40pm Qatar time.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s national flag carrier Qatar Airways said it would halt flying to Saudi Arabia at least for today.

These announcements come as the Saudi Arabian Civil Aviation Authority ordered a ban on all Qatar aircraft landing at airports in the Kingdom with immediate effect, state news agency SPA reported.

UAE airlines

Posting on its website today, Emirates said:

“As instructed by the UAE government, Emirates will suspend its flights to and from Doha, starting from the morning of 6 June 2017, until further notice.

The last flight from Dubai to Doha will depart as EK847 at 02:30am on 6 June. The last flight from Doha to Dubai will depart as EK848 at 03:50am on 6 June.”

Customers booked on Emirates’ flights to and from Doha will be provided with alternative options.

These include full refunds on unused tickets and free re-booking to the nearest alternate Emirates destinations, it added.

Clément Alloing/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It advised all passengers bound for Doha to make alternative arrangements.

Etihad Airways made a similar announcement on its website, confirming that the last flights from Abu Dhabi to Doha will be flight EY391 which will depart at 9:35pm UAE time.

Flight EY398 will be the last Abu Dhabi-bound one, leaving Qatar just before 11pm tonight.

And budget carrier Fly Dubai also confirmed today it would suspend  its operations to Doha from tomorrow.

On its Facebook page, it said the last flight out of Doha, heading to Dubai, would be leave Hamad International Airport at 10:40pm.

“Qatar Airways has suspended all flights to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia until 23:59 UTC on 05th June (02:59 Doha Time on 6th June). Please check this page regularly for further flight updates.”

For its part, Air Arabia said it would cease flights from Sharjah to Doha starting tomorrow, Reuters reported.

The airline’s last flight from Sharjah to Doha will depart at 6:30pm local time today, while the last inbound flight from Doha to Sharjah will depart at 7:25pm local time, the newswire said.

Qatar Airways silent

Meanwhile, aside from a short statement on its website about halting flights to Saudi Arabia, Qatar Airways has not commented on how its other routes will be affected.

But Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have both said they will close their airspace to flights from Qatar.

Qatar Airways/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This will significantly impact Qatar Airways, which will be forced to route its flights around the closures.

Bahraini airspace is large, running almost up to Kuwait to the north, the UAE to the east and Saudi to the south and west.

When the UAE also closes its airspace to Qatari flights, the airline will have to route most flights from Doha via Iran. This will lead to significant detours for many flights.

Have your travel plans been affected by this Gulf row? Thoughts?

MOI

Egate service

E-gate services in Qatar were used some 865,000 times in the first three months of this year, officials have announced.

That’s compared to about a million usages in all of 2016, when e-gate used to cost an annual fee and require prior registration.

The numbers reflect a tremendous increase in demand since the service, which fast-tracks residents through immigration, was made free and available to most expats in December.

Officials are now urging Qatar residents to use the service when possible to speed up processing at the airport.

Expansion

The aim is to triple e-gate usage by the end of 2017 to some 3.5 million passengers, said Col. Mohammed Rashid Al Mazrouei, Director of Airport Passports Department.

Currently, there are 21 e-gates at departures, and 20 at arrivals. Each will be increased to 40 in the coming months, he said in a statement this week.

Jiseon Shin/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

To use the service, travelers should head to an electronic gate and present their Qatar IDs or passports. After passing through the first gate, they then offer a fingerprint or iris scan and then leave immigration.

The process usually takes about 10 seconds, the Ministry of Interior said.

It added that anyone who has trouble using the service can log biometric data like an iris or fingerprint scan at kiosks set up at HIA.

MOI

E-gate service

Free e-gate is part of larger efforts to automate most travel services within the airport, from bag weighing to boarding pass printing to boarding the aircraft.

The move should help with wait times, as well as reduce costs for operators.

HIA opened in 2014, but due to the rapid expansion of Qatar Airways has seen a surge in transit passengers and is already operating beyond capacity.

Do you use e-gate? Thoughts?