Blog Posts by Samreen Hayat

  • Put yourself in their shoes: Bahrain social experiment urges change

    Put yourself in their shoes. That's the message a new video filmed in Bahrain is trying to drive home.

    In the two-and-a-half minute clip, a young Arab man is seen honking his car outside a grocery store, beckoning the shopkeeper to take his order - a typical scene in much of the Gulf. Put yourself in their shoes. That's the message a new video filmed in Bahrain is trying to drive home.Put yourself in their shoes. That's the message a new video filmed in Bahrain is trying to drive home.

    "I always think of that poor worker, going back and forth and people don't treat him with respect," we hear the narrator say.

    "I've decided to take his place for the day, and take people's orders."In the video, we see the Bahraini man taking orders from customers.In the video, we see the Bahraini man taking orders from customers.

    I've decided to take his place for the day, and take people's orders, he says.I've decided to take his place for the day, and take people's orders, he says.

    What happens next surprised him.

    "People were stunned and surprised once they saw a Bahraini guy coming and taking their orders," he says.

    Some became unusually polite, others expressed disbelief and some even "felt embarassed and refused to give their orders."

    The video, which has received over 400,000 views on YouTube, urges viewers to put themselves in someone else's shoes, regardless of their position in society.

    "We are all human beings that have the right to be respected regardless of nationality and

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  • Three Muslim-American students killed near North Carolina university campus

    Three young Muslims, including a newly-wed couple, were shot dead in their home in a North Carolina neighbourhood in the US.

    Students Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were found shot dead at their apartment in Chapel Hill near the University of North Carolina (UNC) campus.

    A 46-year-old man, identified by police as Craig Stephen Hicks, has been charged with three counts of first degree murder.

    An image from the Facebook page Our Three Winners shows the three victims.An image from the Facebook page Our Three Winners shows the three victims.This image provided by the Durham County Sheriff's office shows a booking photo of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who was arrested on three counts of murder early Wednesday Feb. 11, 2015. He is being held at the Durham County Jail. Police were responding to a report of gunshots around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday when they found three people who were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead were identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh. (AP Photo/Durham County Sheriff)This image provided by the Durham County Sheriff's office shows a booking photo of Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, who was arrested on three counts of murder early Wednesday Feb. 11, 2015. He is being held at the Durham County Jail. Police were responding to a report of gunshots around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday when they found three people who were pronounced dead at the scene. The dead were identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, of Chapel Hill; Yusor Mohammad, 21, of Chapel Hill; and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh. (AP Photo/Durham County Sheriff)

    Police arrived at the building complex following reports of gunshots at 5:11pm on Tuesday. The man reportedly turned himself in later than evening.

    The Associated Press reported that the shootings were motivated by a dispute over a parking spot.

    All three victims were shot in the head, sources told WRAL news network. A motive has not yet been confirmed.

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  • Pakistani politician Imran Khan ties the knot

    Pakistani politician and cricket legend Imran Khan has tied the knot, reports confirmed on Thursday.

    The leader of opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) wed former BBC journalist Reham Khan in what is said to have been a low-key affair.

    The nikkah or wedding ceremony was conducted at the 62-year-old Khan's residence in Bani Gala, Islamabad and was attended by close family and friends. A reception is said to scheduled for Friday.

    Photos showing the happy couple soon circulated on social media sites following the news. Photos circulating on social media show Pakistani politician and cricket legend Imran Khan with his new wife.Photos circulating on social media show Pakistani politician and cricket legend Imran Khan with his new wife.

    The nuptials sparked controversy in Pakistan, dominating headlines this week after British media reported the pair had wed in secret.

    Khan initially dismissed reports of his second marriage, saying they were "greatly exaggerated".

    However, earlier this week the hugely-popular leader told journalists while leaving London: "I am going to Pakistan to share the good news of my marriage with the nation. I have nothing to hide."

    "Getting married isn't a crime," he told a

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  • Massive pile-up on Abu Dhabi highway as heavy fog hits UAE

    A horror crash involving multiple cars occured in Abu Dhabi on Thursday morning, as thick fog blanketed the UAE.

    Abu Dhabi newspaper The National reported dozens of cars were involved in the collision on the Shahama-Mafraq highway.

    The daily reported scenes of vehicles piled up on top of each other, quoting witnesses describing the horror of the crash.

    “It was a horrible. It was just a massive car accident that went on and on and on,” witness Zaina Yousaf told The National, adding: “As we drove it just got worse and worse. I have never seen anything like it in my life. One car after another smashed."

    Another witness estimated a 100 cars were involved in the accident.A scene of the crash in Abu Dhabi.A scene of the crash in Abu Dhabi.

    Abu Dhabi police posted photos from the scene of the accident on Twitter.

    Police said traffic had returned to normal by noon on Thursday. No injuries have been

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  • It's already the tallest building in the world, but now the Burj Khalifa can add another feather to its cap - world's highest observation deck.

    At The Top Sky, a brand new lounge located on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa, is now the highest man-made observation deck on the planet, at a staggering 555.7m above ground, Guinness World Records announced on Tuesday.

    This is the second viewing platform to open to public, following At The Top located on the 124th floor, and now the fourth-highest in the world.

    At The Top Sky is billed as a premium experience, offering food and drinks to the guests. It has dethroned China's Canton Tower in Guangzhou which measures 488 metres high.

    This is Burj Khalifa's sixth world record:

    •  Tallest building
    • Highest number of storeys
    • Highest occupied floor
    • Tallest service elevator
    • Highest outdoor observation deck
    • Elevator with the longest travel distance
    • Tallest free-standing structure
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  • Haj Selfies? Muslim pilgrims share spiritual journey with the world

    Millions of Muslims have flocked to Mecca this week for the annual pilgrimage of Haj, but this time they're sharing it with the world, via selfies.

    Armed with their smart phones, the faithful are seen snapping photos of themselves as they circle the Kaaba, or walk through the mount of Safa and Marwa.




    Muslims are required to embark on the Haj, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, only once in their lifetime, if they have the means to do so. Many spend their life's savings on the trip.

    With selfies almost becoming part of modern-day life, it is no surprise pilgrims are taking photos of their journey.With selfies almost becoming part of modern-day life, it is no surprise pilgrims are taking photos of their journey.With selfies almost becoming part of modern-day life, it is no surprise pilgrims are taking photos of their journey.

    Up until recently, camera phone use were strictly banned inside the mosques, but authorities have since relaxed the rules.

    Not everyone is pleased about the new trend, with some scholars condemning this tourist-like behaviour.Not everyone is pleased about the new trend, with some scholars condemning this tourist-like behaviour.Not everyone is pleased about the new trend, with some scholars condemning this tourist-like behaviour.

    Jeddah-based scholar Sheikh Assim Al-Hakeem told Arab News: "There shouldn't be any dispute when it comes to the real meaning of Haj and the essence behind it. It is

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  • Highlights: What happened at Cityscape Global in Dubai

    Cityscape Global, the largest property event of the year wrapped up in Dubai on Tuesday, with many saying this was the biggest it has been since 2008. Here's a look at the top highlights.

     

    Are Dubai's sizzling property prices finally cooling down? Dubai property prices are cooling to "healthy" levels after a two-year rally during which real estate rebounded from a slump when the global financial crisis hit in 2009. Read the story 

    La Mer - that's Meraas Holding (the developers behind the largest Ferris Wheel on earth) latest mixed-use development that will take shape in Dubai's beachfront district of Jumeirah. Want to know more?The La Mer project by Meraas will be created in the Jumeirah area of DubaiThe La Mer project by Meraas will be created in the Jumeirah area of Dubai

     

    DAMAC continues its pursuit of luxury with another branded gold course with none other than Donald trump plus unveiled more plans for the Paramount Pictures hotel they're building in Downtown Dubai.

     


    We kicked off the week with news that the Dubai real estate market is actually slowing down, with a 22% drop in the total value of property transactions this

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  • Saudi National Day: See how the Kingdom has changed since 1932

    Saudi Arabia marks its 84th National Day on Sept 23, 2014. We take a look at how this Gulf giant has changed over the last eight decades.

     

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  • Employees across the UAE can expect an average salary increase of 4.8% next year, behind those in Saudi Arabia, according to a new survey by global talent research firm Aon Hewitt.

    Average salary hikes in the UAE for 2015 will lag behind those of other Gulf countries.Average salary hikes in the UAE for 2015 will lag behind those of other Gulf countries.This figure is slightly down from previous years – 5.1% in 2014 and 5% in 2013 - suggesting that companies might be more conservative with their budgets, the report said. In 2014, UAE employees were given an increase of 4.6% on average, slightly below the original projection.

    Aon Hewitt said employees should not be discouraged by the lower projections.

    “The latest figures show that corporates continue to show confidence in the 2015 economic outlook despite the slightly lower predictions made for the year ahead. It is normal procedure for companies to rethink their salary projections on an annual basis and the latest figure shouldn’t be a cause for concern for employees,” Robert Richter, Compensation Survey Manager, said.

    The numbers were released as part of the firm’s annual Global Salary Increase Survey

    Read More »from UAE salaries expected to grow 4.8% in 2015, behind Saudi Arabia and Oman
  • Sheikh Mohammed takes a tour on brand new Dubai Tram

    Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed and his son Sheikh Hamdan took a trip on the soon-to-launch Dubai Tram this week.

    The royals attended a test run of the newest public transport system in the emirate, which is due to start operation in November.

    In a video released by Dubai Media Office, the father and son are seen touring the facilities before hopping on for a test run.

    Sheikh Hamdan tweeted: “Today we witnessed the test run of the Dubai Tram. We hope it becomes a touristic icon of Dubai and the UAE.”

    The Al Sufouh Tramway is the first such project outside Europe to be powered by a ground-based electric supply system along the track.

    Sheikh Mohammed also visited the tram depot which houses the 25 tram cars, each of which can house up to 400 passengers.

    The first phase of the network will consists of a 10.6 km-long track starting from Dubai Marina and stretching up to the Tram Depot near Dubai Police Academy.

    The tram is expected to transport about 27,000 passengers per day at the start of

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