Byline megha merani

Megha Merani


Location icon United Arab Emirates

Megha Merani is an independent journalist with more than a decade of newspaper, magazine and web reporting experience in the United Arab Emirates, writing hard news, features and opinion pieces that have made local and global headlines.

Her work has been published across Reuters, Zawya, Arab News, Arabian Business, MEED, Bloomberg Middle East, Entrepreneur Middle East, The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, Salaam Gateway, Citizen K, Accelerate SME, Dubai Chamber's Dubai Startup Hub, CEO Middle East, Gulf News, tabloid!, Friday, former local daily 7DAYS, market intelligence portals, and government publications including editorial for the World Government Summit and the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils.

She reports across a wide range of topics including breaking news, business, technology, entrepreneurship, construction, tax, motoring, entertainment, education, migrant labour issues and human interest pieces.

Megha holds a Bachelor's in Information Technology from York University, Canada. Her experience before she ventured into journalism included roles in UI design, process reengineering, ERP implementations and database development. Her background led her to become a regular commentator on the sector through her weekly column Tech Talk, published in 7DAYS. She was the first newspaper journalist from the region invited by Apple to cover its keynote events in San Francisco.

In 2018, she won a grant from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The Global Initiative Against Organized Crime funded by the government of Norway to report on the online trade in illegal wildlife.

In 2019, she won First Place for her business pitch and earned a $25,000 grant from Startup Sharjah - an initiative aimed at building digital content and publishing industry ventures - backed by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center, an incubator for startups. She is currently working on bringing her idea to life.

Got a story? Write to her at megha.merani [at]

How illegal UAE wildlife sales have shifted online

The UAE introduced a law banning the ownership and trade of wild animals, but sellers have shifted their illegal activities online, with numerous ads on social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram Charlie was ripped from his mother's arms while he was still nursing.

Saudi govt could shelve $13.3bln in projects in 2017- report

Faithful+Gould's 2017 forecast assumes another major infrastructure project will be awarded by "exception or royal decree", according to the firm's Construction Intelligence Report on Saudi Arabia which was released on Tuesday. It referred to expenditure under the 2017 state budget that appears to make room for a new major infrastructure scheme.

Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum Global Initiatives
CTRL+P: Jordanian hospital printing prosthetic limbs offers amputees hope

CTRL+P: Jordanian hospital printing prosthetic limbs offers amputees hope International medical non-profit Médecins Sans Frontières is using 3D printing technology to help victims of war live with autonomy and dignity, writes Megha Merani. A hospital in Jordan has 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for more than 30 amputee victims of war in the Middle East to help them live with autonomy, dignity, and new hope for the future.
Shangri-La Dubai hotel tower sold at auction for $190m

Tower owned by Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Group is sold as part of multi-billion dirham debt restructure A landmark hotel property in Dubai operated by Hong Kong's Shangri-La Group of Hotels has sold for AED700.2 million ($190.62 million) according to results posted on an auction website.

Why Saudi Arabia Is Being Increasingly Seen As The Place To Be To Start A Business In The Middle...

15+ min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. "Did you really quit McKinsey to do this?" Alper Celen's decision to trade his cushy job at the prestigious global management consulting firm's Scandinavian offices for a move to Saudi Arabia to grow a startup there didn't make much sense to his colleagues.

UAE's Emaar Hospitality Group IPO "not on the table"- CEO

By Megha Merani Emaar Hospitality Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dubai-based global property developer Emaar Properties PJSC, is not considering listing its hotels business, the company's new CEO said on Monday. The developer raised $1.6 billion after it sold a 15.4 percent stake in its retail unit Emaar Malls Group in an initial public offer (IPO) in September 2015, according to a Reuters report.

Plans for Luxembourg's first Islamic bank revived

An unsuccessful venture to establish the first Islamic bank headquartered in the euro zone in 2014 has revived its plans and is in the process of raising funds for the project, an executive told Salaam Gateway.
Dubai's RERA warns developers, brokers not to 'chase investors' at Cityscape

The regulatory arm of Dubai Land Department warns brokers not to chase investors in corridors and parking lots The notice issued to real estate development and brokerage companies by RERA comes as the property sector face fierce competition amidst ongoing subdued market conditions that have persisted since crude prices plunged in 2014.

"I feel proud handing over the reins," says former Drake & Scull CEO

This involved bringing in Tabarak Investment to inject new capital into the business following a proposed share capital reduction that will see three-quarters of its share base cancelled with a view to extinguishing 1.7 billion UAE dirhams worth of historic losses.

Drake & Scull aims to raise $245million in equity this year: CEO

As part of this plan it announced to the Dubai Financial Market it had secured a binding offer from Dubai-based Tabarak Investment for a capital injection of 500 million UAE dirhams. Its strategy also involves divestment from non-performing or distressed subsidiaries.

Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum Global Initiatives
Not just for boys: Middle East female motorcyclists ride to empowerment

Some did it in disguise, while others just asked, 'Why not sit in front?' and hopped on. Three Arab women tell Megha Merani about shattering stereotypes as part of an international women-only bikers club. History was made in 2018, when women in Saudi Arabia were permitted to drive for the first time since 1957.
God, love and the big bang: Remembering Stephen Hawking

On the first anniversary of his death, his ex-wife Jane Hawking reflects on her life with the renowned physicist and cosmologist Today (March 14th) marks the first anniversary of Stephen's death. Jane Hawking, the ex-wife of renowned physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, has shared memories of spirited discussions between them about science and religion as she made an effort to reconcile their contradictory beliefs.

Former Apple chief John Sculley admits his Obi mobile is not as good as iPhone

The man who is said to have fired Steve Jobs from Apple in 1985 has admitted his latest creation is not as good as the iPhone. Speaking at the launch of Obi Mobile in Dubai - a new, affordable range of smartphones - John Sculley told 7DAYS: "Steve would have said, 'It's not good enough, I can make it better'.

Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum Global Initiatives
Game on: Saudi's first woman to play world series squash aims to inspire female athletes

Game on: Saudi's first woman to play world series squash aims to inspire female athletes A self-taught squash player who made history in 2018 believes that Saudi women have a shot at getting into the big leagues, writes Megha Merani. Nada Abo Alnaja started out teaching herself the game by watching YouTube videos.

Arab News
Non-profit shows how Gulf states can do away with food waste

BAHRAIN: "Your excess is someone else's relief" is the slogan chosen by Conserving Bounties, a non-profit food bank in Bahrain that collects surplus food from hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and private events, and distributes it to needy workers and underprivileged families.
The invisible women: Behind every great man there's a great woman

From Zelda Fitzgerald to Lillian Disney and Mitza Maric - history has abundant instances of women whose work went unrecognised Behind every great man there's a great woman. Or so goes the old adage, commonly believed to have originated from feminist movements that began in the US back in the 1940s.

Smart Dubai's Dubai Pulse Platform Lets Startups Take The Lead With Data

5 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. "I'm an idiot," Dharmesh Shah wrote on his blog in 2012. His confession came two years before his startup, cloud-based, inbound marketing software company HubSpot, raised US$125 million through its listing at a valuation of $759 million in 2014.

Making Change Happen: How Dubai-Based Socent Evolvin' Women Is Creating Impact

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. Antoinette Allah-Mensah is both heartbroken and excited. The 28-year-old single mum from Ghana is stoically holding back tears as she talks about missing her son's third birthday next month, especially because he unfailingly asks when she will come to him every time he hears her voice on the phone.
Is the UAE learning a valuable lesson on school fees?

High school fees is something many expats accept as one of the downsides of living in the UAE, but the days of yearly increases and long waiting lists appear to be over, as education operators begin to adjust to the new economic landscape

Charlize Theron weighs in on #MeToo in Dubai

Academy Award winning actor and United Nations Messenger of Peace, Charlize Theron is optimistic on the fire that's been lit by women across the globe speaking out against sexual harassment and fighting for equal pay. She's also firmly on the side of the kids in the US who are fighting to change gun laws.
Finding a healthcare strategy that works in the UAE

How do you do things by the book, provide proper quality healthcare to patients and make money? Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa Al Hammadi has an answer Healthcare in the UAE is 'oversupplied' is not what you expect to hear when you sit down to interview the top man of a rapidly expanding healthcare group in the emirates.
Master of the turnaround: ADFG's Jassim Alseddiqi

Abu Dhabi Financial Group founding CEO Jassim Alseddiqi on what it takes to succeed - no matter what the economic conditions Jassim Alseddiqi is a much sought-after board member "You see that sand over there?" Jassim Alseddiqi points to an empty plot of land from the window of his 35th-floor boardroom overlooking the waters from Abu Dhabi Global Market on Al Maryah Island.
SAP's Gergi Abboud: why GCC firms must evolve for new digital era

Gergi Abboud, senior vice president and general manager, SAP Middle East South, tells Arabian Business why businesses must evolve for a new era - and fast Gergi Abboud, senior vice president and general manager, SAP Middle East South.

UPDATE: Emaar will not be exhibiting at Dubai's Cityscape property showcase

(Updated to include statement from Emaar) Dubai's largest listed real estate developer Emaar Properties PJSC will not be taking part in this year's Cityscape Global exhibition, the region's largest annual real estate industry showcase. "Cityscape Global has been a significant platform to showcase property developments in UAE and in the region.
Christian Dior invites Kuwaiti blogger Sondos Alqattan to Paris SS19 show

Sondos Alqattan refused to apologise for comments criticising Kuwait's new laws that granted Filipino domestic workers in the Gulf state one day off per week Sondos Alqattan, known for her online make-up tutorials, said the backlash was "unjustified" and did not require an apology.

Arab News
A Saudi app that promotes Arabic reading

DUBAI: The most crucial year in a child's education may be the age of 8, or third grade, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The organization, which focuses on improving the wellbeing of American children, found this to be the developmental phase when children transition from "learning to read" to "reading to learn."

Driven By Growth: Saudi Arabia Sees A Rise In Support For Startups And Entrepreneurs

12 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. The number of incubators and accelerators across the globe has multiplied by nearly five times over the last decade- up from 560 back in 2009 to 2,616 in 2018, according to a report published by global consultancy Roland Berger earlier this year.

Will UAE residents pay more for luxury ride services?

Blacklane, a Berlin-based global professional chauffeur services start-up that Al Fahim Group has invested in, announced the opening of its Middle East office in Dubai this week. Blacklane also announced a deal with Emirates to exclusively take over its complimentary chauffeur-drive service for its First and Business Class passengers in India, Italy and Sweden.

UAE insurance costs soar four-fold after high-rise fires

By Megha Merani May 4 (TRPN) - Heavy losses in recent fires have increased the cost of insuring high-rise properties in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at least four-fold, with some policies beginning to take into account loss of business, a UAE-based insurance lawyer said on Thursday.

UAE to introduce new arbitration law before the end of 2017: Lawyer

"Arbitration awards are judgements (under the new law), you go to the execution courts to immediately execute," Tamimi said. If a party wants to challenge the award they can file a challenge within 30 days to challenge the award, he added, but that challenge does not stop enforcement.

John Abraham wants to make the world a better place

Bollywood model-turned-actor and producer John Abraham has a new sports film in the pipeline that no one knows about just yet - but that's not what he's interested in talking about. He'd rather speak about his weekend refereeing young women footballers in Dubai and the difference he wants to make in the world by encouraging female empowerment and sustainability through sport.

UAE's Drake & Scull sees Saudi as core market despite challenges - CEO

Even with payments being a pain point in the oil-producing state, CEO Wael Allan has his hopes riding on a big ticket - the much-awaited award of the Makkah Metro project, for which DSI is part of the preferred bidding consortium that includes Saudi contractor Al-Saad and France's Alstom.

UAE energy efficiency push could be boon for financial investors

"There's a whole opportunity there for third-party financiers to invest and get returns on just a retrofit," Gentil told Zawya Projects on the sidelines of the Alleem Business Congress last month. "I think more and more, especially when they (building owners) see prices going up for electricity and water bills, like what happened in Abu Dhabi recently, that's when they start to be interested (in retrofit)."

Emaar appoints new chief executive

DUBAI, March 5 (TRPN) - Dubai-based developer Emaar Properties PJSC said on Sunday that it has hired a new chief executive to head development. "John Carfi has joined Emaar Properties as ‎CEO of Development," a company spokesperson told Zawya Projects in an email. Carfi joins Emaar from Australian property group Mirvac, where he was head of residential.

Dubai firms move to renegotiate commercial leases to cover VAT

He added that a lack of clarity on how the new tax might affect commercial rents was causing "nervousness" amongst some existing tenants. The finance ministry held its first workshop in March to educate UAE businesses on the proposed new tax law.

Abu Dhabi to launch energy retrofit scheme this year

By Megha Merani DUBAI, March 1 (TRPN) - Abu Dhabi is expected to roll out a new building retrofit programme spanning millions of square metres this year to reduce energy consumption in the Gulf emirate, the chief executive of an end-use energy consultancy said.
Global ambition: Dubai Chamber president and CEO Hamad Buamim

As the new chairman of the World Chambers Federation, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President and CEO Hamad Buamim is ready to tackle new challenges and bring new ideas to enhance global trade Dubai Chamber is looking at markets that have competitive advantage "It was our aspiration to lead and now here we are," says Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), as he gazes outside of his office window at the abras sailing along the bustling...

Saudi Arabia to tender metro projects as PPPs

construction| Saudi Arabia plans to implement metro projects in Makkah, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina in partnership with the private sector By Megha Merani DUBAI, March 7 (TRPN) - Saudi Arabia plans to implement metro projects in Makkah, Jeddah, Dammam and Medina in partnership with the private sector, the chief of Saudi Railways Organization ( SRO) said on Tuesday.

Feeling Lost In Life? Dubai Startup Visoul Wants To Help You Find Your Way

12 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. Soul searches don't typically begin when we're feeling fulfilled. Most seekers admit that it's usually when you hit your lowest point that you embark on a quest for answers.

EXCLUSIVE: JadoPado founder launches Dubai real estate blockchain startup Esanjo

30 July 2017 Omar Kassim, the Dubai-based founder of online marketplace JadoPado, has launched a new startup that aims to facilitate real estate transactions using blockchain technology. Kassim, who recently sold his company to Noon, the e-commerce conglomerate headed by Emaar chairman Mohamad Alabbar, has ventured into the world of real estate with a new platform he's calling

Maximizing Value: Monty Mobile Founder And CEO Mountasser Hachem

12 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. Tell them how they can make more money, offer them something no one else ever has, and be flexible- that's the simple secret to Mountasser Hachem's success.

Expert offers coping tools for couples trying to conceive

If you are coping with infertility, it doesn't help when people tell you to 'just relax' - or pacify you with platitudes and advice that fails to acknowledge the reality of your circumstances. Priyanka Bhatia-Mahendru gets it. She offers couples coping tools to deal with potential stresses and strains of conceiving via assisted reproductive techniques at Bourn Hall Fertility Centre in Dubai.

Priya Varrier says she's more than her viral video

A new young actor can only dream of rising to fame after the release of her debut film. So it's incredibly rare when an 18-year-old breaks the internet with just a teaser of her upcoming movie. Priya Prakash Varrier has skyrocketed to stardom ahead of her upcoming Malayalam film Oru Adaar Love in what has been, quite literally, the wink of an eye.

Making Change Happen: How Dubai-Based Socent Evolvin' Women Is Creating Impact

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. Antoinette Allah-Mensah is both heartbroken and excited. The 28-year-old single mum from Ghana is stoically holding back tears as she talks about missing her son's third birthday next month, especially because he unfailingly asks when she will come to him every time he hears her voice on the phone.

Support for Alzheimer's awareness campaign can help save memories

It's a child's worst nightmare come true. When 42-year-old Desiree Vlekken returned home to visit her parents in the Philippines over Christmas, her dad didn't seem to recognise her. He had lost a lot of weight. He was constantly agitated, easily upset, having imaginary fights and delusional episodes.

Not just for boys: 7DAYS' Megha Merani test drives the Bentley Mulsanne

Clearly there aren't enough women buying Bentleys, at least not in the UAE. I say this not because I haven't seen a girl or two whiz past me in a Conti GT down Sheikh Zayed Road. I say so because when I announced at the dealership that I was there to pick up the Mulsanne, I was greeted by a gaping look.

Scores of shoe lovers meet Sarah Jessica Parker in Dubai.

Sex and the City star SJPCemodels her shoe line in Dubai Fashionistas worldwide famously quote Carrie Bradshaw if they are ever berated for buying slinky shoes instead of sensible stocks. "I like my money where I can see it -- hanging in my closet,"Cethey say.

PPP requires more regulation and incentives in UAE: gov't economist

A better regulatory framework and more generous incentives for the private sector are critical for the public-private partnership (PPP) model to succeed in the United Arab Emirates, a government economist said. In August 2015, Dubai passed a new PPP law regulating partnerships between the public and private sectors in the emirate.

Inside the Dubai wedding with a 350kg rose petal drop

You know this isn't going to be your usual fairytale when the conversation suddenly veers from how a bride met her husband to how the aviation authorities, the military and the coastguard played a starring role in her wedding. Dubai-based film director Japinder Kaur's wedding story is anything but typical.

What are love story lehengas, and why are they so popular?

Serena and Rahul Sajnani's love story dates back to when they were just 12 year olds playing imaginative games about pretending to work at an airport. They've been best friends since, and later the friendship blossomed into the love of a lifetime.

VAT will push up UAE insurance costs: Tax expert

The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) decision to impose value-added-tax (VAT) on non-life insurance is expected to drive up the cost of health, motor, and property premiums, a tax expert said. The UAE is the biggest insurance market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, where motor and health policies account for 70 percent of the market.

'Rangreza' cast want to start a renaissance

Pakistani actors Urwa Hocane, Bilal Ashraf and Gohar Rasheed are earnest, excited and hugely enthusiastic - not just about their upcoming release but also about showing off the revival of their nation's film industry and cinema culture.

Listen Up, Startups: Boards Aren't Just For The Big Leagues

10 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media. Saying you're off to a board meeting sounds like an important place to hangout. It smells like success and paints a picture of fancy suits seated around a long table in a conference room making million dollar decisions.

New mehendi trends: Tinder and skylines

It's not every day you see they skyline of city drawn across a girl's arms on the eve of her wedding - one city on the left arm and another city on the right. But such drawings, created as henna patterns, are the latest trend amongst brides in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai World Cup: Style is at stake

It's the time of year when the fillies and fellas come out to play in their finest feathers. As one of the world's richest horse races, the $10-million (Dh36.7 million) Dubai World Cup is exciting of course, but the stakes are far higher off the track, as socialites compete for attention, to inspire envy or signal that they're ready to mingle.

Al Gurg: The family developer taking a different approach to Dubai real estate

17 August 2017 Fifteen years ago, the Dubai government issued a decree that allowed expatriates and foreigners to own freehold property in the emirate. Local developers jumped to cash in on the foreign investment, pitching big dreams of projects that would put the United Arab Emirates on the world map.

UAE foreign minister urges nations to keep up the fight against piracy

Countries must not let down their guard or scale back efforts in the fight against maritime piracy, an international security summit in Dubai has heard. Speaking at the Counter-Piracy Conference yesterday, HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said the number of attacks has reduced significantly in recent years, but that there are new threats including pirates allying with terror groups such as ISIL.

The UAE should set an example of tolerance, says Minister of Cabinet Affairs

The UAE's "call in life" is to set an example of tolerance for the world to learn from, a top government official has said. Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the country has become a place where different religions, ethnicities and nationalities could live peacefully and side by side.

Bollywood stars Arjun Kapoor, Alia Bhatt mix it up for world peace

When college sweethearts Krish Malhotra and Ananya Swaminathan declared their intention to tie the knot, their parents threw a fit, forbidding them from ever walking down the aisle. Though both are Indian, the absolute opposition was due to cultural differences between their respective communities - a clash of customs between Krish's loud folks from the northern state of Punjab and Ananya's traditional, religious, Brahmin family from Chennai in south India.

Taxi! Get your lift home in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini in Dubai

A Dhs10 million fleet of fancy cars, including a Lamborghini, Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Bentley and a Mercedes G Class limo, will line up to ferry commuters across Dubai free of charge as part of the city's motor festival. The service will operate for 10 hours a day during the weekends of November 21-22 and 28-29, and December 5-6.

Chief medics say Dhs100 million research centre in Dubai could find cure for cancer

Health bosses hope a Dhs100 million investment in a medical research complex in Dubai could lead to a cure for cancer. Work is under way on the 170,000sqft Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, which will focus on research and development on the UAE's five most urgent healthcare challenges: cancer, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and mental health.

Snapchat firm advertises jobs in Dubai

13 August 2017 Snap Inc.(NYSE:SNAP), the maker of the popular photo and video messaging application Snapchat, is ramping up hiring in Dubai after it announced the opening of its first Middle East office earlier this year. The American technology and social media firm established an office in Dubai Internet City in February, led by ex-Yahoo head Hussein Freijeh.

Danube Group expects business to grow by at least 5% in 2017

By Megha Merani May 21 (TRPN) - Dubai-based Danube Group expects its building materials business to grow by at least five percent in 2017, despite challenging economic conditions, the company's chairman said. Several construction projects in the United Arab Emirates and across oil-producing Gulf Arab states have suffered delays following the plunge in crude prices in 2014, slower economic growth and tighter bank liquidity.

Abu Dhabi to launch energy retrofit scheme this year

By Megha Merani DUBAI, March 1 (TRPN) - Abu Dhabi is expected to roll out a new building retrofit programme spanning millions of square metres this year to reduce energy consumption in the Gulf emirate, the chief executive of an end-use energy consultancy said.

It's better to buy property in Dubai, says brother of Bollywood star

His brother, Bollywood actor Sohail Khan, is brand ambassador for the Burj Pacific project in Downtown Dubai. His famous family, including Salman Khan, have snapped up several apartments in the same development. But actor and director Arbaaz Khan is busy urging expats to invest in real estate back in India.

Flight schools claim more women in the UAE are signing up to be pilots

More women in the UAE are learning to fly helicopters and planes, two of the country's main pilot schools have said. Fujairah Aviation Academy said that 10 per cent of its trainees are now women - up from 2 to 3 per cent just five years ago, while Bristow Academy said it had seen a rise of 8 per cent in the same period.

Police working on regulations for drone use in the UAE

It might be the gizmo on many a festive shopping list, but owning a drone will involve more than simply buying and flying in the future. Police have revealed a new law to regulate the use of the unmanned aerial devices in the UAE is in the pipeline.

Indian politician claims government will build future for labourers in home country

Unskilled workers from India will not have to settle for a life of manual labour in the Gulf construction industry in future, a prominent Indian politician has promised. Yashwant Sinha, a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP), claims the government is committed to tackling issues of the poor, particularly in rural India.

How to score a job at Google in the UAE

The perks are legendary. Never-ending free gourmet meals, massages, haircuts, fitness classes, gym membership and even a concierge service to run mundane errands like picking up the dry cleaning and getting the oil changed on your car.

Dubai's very own Champ of the Camp doubles his salary with help of prize money

An expat in Dubai who sang his way to victory at 'Champ of the Camp' has more than trebled his salary after using his winnings to learn to drive. Dhruv Bakshi, 28, out-sang 3,000 entrants from 80 labour camps at last year's final of Western Union 'Camp ka Champ' - a singing contest for labourers, popularly known as 'Dubai Idol'.

VIDEO: Kind-hearted Dubai singers raise cash for children with cancer

A group of kind-hearted Dubai singers have come together to raise money to cover the medical bills of two young children with cancer. Daudjan Al Maty (right), aged four, from Kazakhstan and Ammar Ibrahim Ali, aged two, from Nigeria, are undergoing treatment for leukaemia at Dubai Hospital.

Women in UAE pitch philanthropic plans to win funding and make a difference

In the UAE, people like to complain a lot. Whether it's bad customer service, road safety, a lack of libraries or inconvenient access to recycling facilities, people are always comparing things to elsewhere and finding faults. But instead of moaning and nit-picking, why not do something about it instead?

Cut above the rest: Dubai girl donates her hair to cancer charity

A selfless seven-year-old has had her long blonde hair cut so it can be used to make a wig for little girls with cancer. Second-grader Katrina Dewar generously parted with 10 sections of her 20-inch locks yesterday to give to the Little Princess Trust - a charity that provides real-hair wigs, free of charge, to boys and girls across the UK and Ireland who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment.

Apple to open Dubai store in February, source tells 7DAYS

The 'world's largest' Apple retail store will open in Dubai early next year, a source close to the tech giant has revealed. Rumours have been rife about the opening of the store since CEO Tim Cook's Dubai visit earlier this year.

Delighted Dubai driver handed Dhs1,000 prize reward for driving safely

A hotel driver has spoken of his delight at becoming the first person to be handed a Dhs1,000 prize under a scheme to reward careful motorists. Shantaram Jadhav won half his Dhs2,000 monthly salary yesterday morning in Ghusais as part of the Porsche RoadStar campaign.

Champ of the Camp winner to spend prize money on sister's education

The winner of this year's 'Champ of the Camp' wants to spend his prize money on putting his teenage sister through school. Expat workers Kushal Sunar and his team-mate Mohammed Shazad Ali sang their way to victory last Thursday night at the finals of the Western Union 'Camp ka Champ' - the popular singing contest for labourers, popularly known as 'Dubai Idol'.

Apple advertise for staff in UAE amid rumours of new store

Technology giant Apple has begun advertising for staff in the UAE - the biggest hint yet that an official store is on its way. The California firm has long been rumoured to be planning an outlet in the country, but is famously tight-lipped about new products and expansions.

Coffee king spills the magic of the beans in Dubai

Don't slurp your soup! It's bad manners. That's what my mother always said to us when we were children. Spitting was a big no-no too. When I was inspired by Jack [Leonardo Di Caprio] showing Rose [Kate Winslet] how to 'spit like a man', I was sent to my room without any dinner.

Indian elections: Dubai app developers have politicians on the run

Two UAE residents are making Indian politicians sprint over cows and scurry past chickens for votes in the race to become the country's next prime minister. As more than 800 million citizens cast their ballots to elect a new government for the world's largest democracy, expats Justin Joseph and Shaun Samuel have developed a smartphone game designed to show political support for candidates.

Dubai mums warned to cover up while dropping kids off at school

This is the message greeting mothers as they drop off their kids at one Dubai school. The poster, positioned at the entrance of Raffles World Academy, tells mums to cover up during the school run. The notice reads: "Parents & Visitors... We'd love to see you... but not that much of you!

Ebola and extremism top of agenda at high-level Dubai summit

Tackling the Ebola epidemic and dealing with the threat from extremists are among the key challenges to be discussed at this week's Summit on the Global Agenda. The high-level event, hosted with the World Economic Forum, begins today and will see more than 1,000 politicians, academics and thinkers from 83 countries gather in Dubai for the seventh year.

Bollywood star Suniel Shetty eyes up Dubai for property investment

Why endorse someone else's development when you can build your own? That's the view of Bollywood veteran Suniel Shetty when it comes to real estate. The actor has been keeping an eye on Dubai's buzzing property market - but says he is not going to follow in his B-town colleague superstar Shah Rukh Khan's footsteps.

Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan praise Bollywood theme park in Dubai

Two of the biggest names in Indian cinema have hailed plans to build a Bollywood theme park in Dubai - saying it will further boost the global appeal of Hindi films. Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan welcomed the development saying the plan was evidence of the industry's reach.

Traffic boss says seatbelt law will help ensure parents buckle up their children in UAE

The biggest obstacle to getting parents to buckle up their children is the lack of a law making it mandatory, according to the CEO of traffic at the RTA. Even after almost 10 years of awareness campaigns, Maitha bin Adai, the head of the Traffic and Roads Department at the Roads and Transport Authority, believes the only way to ensure families invest in car seats is to make it law.

Scores of shoe lovers meet Sarah Jessica Parker in Dubai

"I like my money where I can see it - hanging in my closet," they say. Just as she did in the iconic TV sitcom 'Sex And The City'. And Tuesday afternoon seemed no different as scores of shoe lovers lined up at Bloomingdales in Dubai to invest in soles from their style icon Sarah Jessica Parker's new collection - and have them autographed by the lady too.

Dubai loses fireworks world record to tiny town in Norway

On New Year's Eve last year, thousands watched 479,651 shells light up the sky over the Palm Jumeirah and The World Islands in just six minutes - earning Dubai top place for the biggest-ever pyrotechnics display on the planet.

Dubai's UWI infrastructure investment firm in talks for Cairo project

By Megha Merani April 18 (TRPN) - United World Infrastructure (UWI), a Dubai and Washington D.C.-based infrastructure investment and development company, is in talks to develop a new economic cluster in Egypt with an approximate total investment of more than $500 million, a company executive said.

Wildlife campaigner says stars posing with exotic pets sends 'wrong message'

A wildlife advocate has criticised celebrities who pose for photos with exotic pets then share them online with their fans. Hollywood's 'Fast and Furious' star Vin Diesel, American rapper Ludacris, singer-songwriter Tyrese Gibson and B-town diva Shilpa Shetty are among the many public figures that have posted photos of themselves alongside domesticated wild animals on social media.

Tim Horton's criticised by Dubai Police for ad blunder

Coffee giant Tim Horton's has been criticised by police and customers after urging motorists to drink their beverage while driving in a social media post. The global chain's GCC division posted a photo of a driver holding a cup at the wheel along with the message: "One thing you can drink and drive with."

New foster home sought in Dubai for Bangladesh student

A promising young pupil plucked from the slums of Bangladesh could lose the opportunity of a lifetime if he does not find a foster family. Milon Hossain, 16, is on a sought-after scholarship with the Maria Cristina Foundation, who brought him to Dubai from Dhaka.

Runners chased by zombies at the Dubai Contagion Run

Being chased by a creature from 'The Walking Dead' that is hungering for my brains is not my idea of a good weekend. Since he's not quite the prince charming of my dreams, I'm forced to run, for my life, to escape being eaten - also an activity I do not consider fun.

Property firms hit out at rival company Better Homes' rental ad campaign

Real estate bosses have criticised a rival company for an advertising campaign in which the firm says it can help landlords "avoid rental cap laws" in Dubai. Rules brought in by RERA (the Real Estate Regulatory Agency) state the maximum landlords can raise rents when renewing contracts.

Plastic Surgery: Dubai has eyes on the booming Asian eyelid cosmetic market

"The eyes are the window to your soul," said William Shakespeare. Centuries later, plastic surgeons are now labelling eyes "the window of the face," instead. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid plastic surgery, has become the most popular of all facial cosmetic surgery operations selected by patients from Asia - and Dubai is on its way to becoming a hub for the procedure.

Dubai residents can review apartment buildings on new website

Broken elevators, mouldy air-conditioning, a dirty pool and sky-high chiller fees - just some of the woes of Dubai tenants after they hand over huge rent cheques. Now, a new website has been launched to help house hunters get the inside scoop on flats by collating good and bad reviews.

Dubai Police play video games to help tackle crime

Bam! Bam! Bam! Shooting down virtual enemy targets might sound thrilling to gamers, but there's a lot more to sniping on screen than you think. Fun and games are not things you typically associate with law enforcement, especially when it's Dubai Police, who have the tough task of keeping the city's busy streets safe everyday.

'Depressed' tigers: Expert says Bengal big cats are mentally ill at Dubai Zoo

Endangered Bengal tigers at Dubai Zoo have become mentally ill due to the "distressing environment" they are cooped up in, a tiger expert believes. Chris Slappendel, architect of the awareness project, believes that the big cats at the zoo are suffering from "zoochosis".

UAE urged to join global campaign to protect rhinos

So says seven-year-old Sam Lloyd, who made a poster, right, hoping to convince people to stop killing the animal for its horn, which is traded on the black market. Rhino horns are used by some cultures as status symbols, ornaments or for traditional medicine, with totally unproven claims to cure cancer and other diseases.

To have and to hold joint accounts - or should couples keep cash apart?

Choosing to spend the rest of your life with someone is the most important decision you can make. Along with the eternal declaration of love and commitment comes an emotionally charged, grown-up choice: in addition to sharing your daily life, are you also going to share your money?

Was Beyonce right to stand back in the Jay Z-Solange spat?

That could very well be what Jay Z agreed to when he married Beyonce Knowles in 2008. But the power couple's vows were put to the test recently. A minute-long video posted by TMZ went viral this week, revealing a physical row that went down between Jay Z and his wife's sister, Solange, after the Met Gala.

Beyonce slams pressure on women to constantly look perfect

Beyonce believes there's too much pressure on women to look perfect. If she feels that way then imagine how the rest of us must suffer. After all, it's easy enough to say that when you look like the Grammy-winning pop princess. She even somehow managed to look her bewitching self, so soon after baby Ivy Blue was born.

Likes don't lie - what you can learn from Shakira's 100 million Facebook milestone

Millions of people worldwide have clearly taken Shakira's lyrics to heart after she recently stormed past the 100 million 'likes' milestone on Facebook. The 37-year-old pop diva is the most 'liked' person on the planet, but what can we learn from Shakira's social skills? And do 'likes' really matter?

Jennifer Lawrence: FBI investigate over private photos

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are hunting the hackers who stole naked photos of Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence and plastered them across the internet, but the damage has already been done. The compromising images surfaced on website 4chan on Sunday night after the 24-year-old Hollywood star's Apple iCloud account was broken into.

Comedian Jason Manford on the hunt for problems that bother UAE residents

Feeling rather depressed after England's embarrassing show at the World Cup? Or are you just one of those who cannot stand football? There's potential comic relief for both devastated fans and haters of the sport at The Laughter Factory's 18th birthday celebrations, as comedy star Jason Manford returns to perform in Dubai on Sunday night.

'Meet and greet' with Amitabh Bachchan falls flat for fans

Crying children were left inconsolable after being made to walk away without a promised meeting with Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan. Big B was in town for the world premiere of his new kids' movie 'Bhoothnath Returns' - a sequel to 2008 release 'Bhoothnath' - in which he plays a friendly ghost.

Shah Rukh Khan's son AbRam makes his Bollywood film debut

The toddler, a surrogate child, will make his Bollywood debut in the Dubai-set tale that will have its world premiere at the Atlantis - The Palm hotel on October 22. SRK's wife Gauri revealed in an interview with an Indian daily that it was a "very spontaneous decision" to give AbRam a role in the film.

Expert calls for kids to be taught lessons in happiness not just maths and science

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. So goes Pharrell Williams' infectious pop anthem 'Happy'. It's neither advice, nor a guaranteed solution to life's troubles. People know this. Still, the cheerful chant - viewed more than 180 million times on YouTube and spurring countless parodies across the planet - gets crowds doing just as instructed and adding their own happy dance to boot.

Campaign helps UAE brush up on awareness of special needs

Brushing your teeth is one of the easiest tasks you perform daily. Now, a Dubai-based centre for people with special needs is urging the UAE to brush up on their awareness of disability. The aim of the campaign is to get people to brush with their less dominant hand, record it and post the clip on Facebook, using the hashtag #snfbrushingchallenge.

Parent-teacher contracts in Dubai lead to fall in school complaints

Dubai's education regulator is to triple the number of schools using the 'Parent School Contract' and add clauses on social media use after noting a 20 per cent drop in the number of complaints from schools and parents who signed the contract.

Tragedies caused by bullying abroad prompt action in the UAE

A campaign to beat cyber bullies that started in the UK has now been launched in the UAE to help children, teachers and parents prevent online harassment among teens. 'Beat the CyberBully' was born following tragic incidents in which bullying victims took their own lives after being subjected to vile taunts on social media and chat sites.

PHOTOS: A look at some special race-day outfits at Dubai World Cup

The rain stayed away as the finest fillies from across the world flocked to impress at the 19th running of the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse. We're not just talking about horses of course. We also mean the thousands of women dressed to the nines, complete with skyscraper heels and high-class hats.

Behold: World's most expensive piece of footwear on sale in Dubai

Shoe lovers in the UAE may fall head over heels this week when the world's most expensive piece of footwear goes on sale in Dubai for Dhs11.3 million. Worth even more than all the shoes in Carrie Bradshaw's coveted closet, the extravagant size-38 boots are laced with diamonds totalling 1,527 carats.

No rules when it comes to make-up, say masters of the beauty industry

All women have had at least one - those disturbingly painful experiences at a beauty counter that leave you hating the mirror for a month. From the so-called 'beauty expert' bombarding you with tips on how to 'fix' problems you never knew you had, to the supposed 'artist' who shakes her head at you for breaking the rules and picking a shade of lipstick that's too bright for your complexion.

Cities should avoid clashes of sporting events, says UAE official

Dubai and Abu Dhabi should team up to avoid fans having to choose between attending their favourite sporting events following last weekend's clash between the Formula One and the DP World Tour Championship, according to a top UAE sports official. The head of Dubai Sports Council admitted a unified UAE calendar for sporting events would serve better spectators.

Abu Dhabi is 'gold mine' for investors, says real estate developer

A real estate developer claims Abu Dhabi is a "gold mine" for investors, and a better long-term prospect than "posh" Dubai. Jack Hu, managing director of the Farglory Group Middle East, made the comments at the launch of the Taiwanese firm's Maryah Plaza project in Abu Dhabi in Al Maryah Island's new financial freezone.

Cityscape Global: Movie-themed hotel will be third largest in Dubai

A heated meeting with Don Corleone followed by a romantic dinner with Jack Dawson then a showdown with Decepticons if you don't pay the bill - this is how your night might pan out at a new, movie-themed hotel planned for Dubai. The Paramount Hotel Dubai, Downtown, was launched by DAMAC Properties at Cityscape Global yesterday.

Cityscape Global: So-called property bubble in Dubai will not burst again, say experts

Flippers have no place in Dubai's property market anymore and the so-called real estate 'bubble' is not set to burst again - thanks to government regulations and a cautious approach from developers, experts have said. The three-day, mammoth Cityscape Global property exhibition was officially opened in Dubai yesterday by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman of Emirates.

Cityscape Global: Property buyers advised to do their homework before splashing the cash

Don't fall for sales pitches at Cityscape Global that insist you make an immediate decision before the deal sells out, real estate professionals have advised. "It's one of the biggest lies you come across in the market - anyone who tells you their project is almost sold out is definitely not telling the truth," Haji Suleman, senior property consultant at Silver Heights Real Estate, told 7DAYS.

Head of new firm wants to shake up the real estate business in UAE

This is going to seriously upset real estate agents - is it not? "No comment," Adham Saleh tells 7DAYS. Then, he reluctantly concedes: "Maybe... probably." But that's not the point, the man behind insists. The entrepreneur is on a mission to advocate a healthy real estate market in the UAE by changing the way property is bought and sold.

Fit for a king: Rolls Royce Maharaja edition to go on sale in UAE

One wealthy car lover in the UAE is destined to become the owner of a one-of-a-kind motor deemed fit for an Indian royal. The Rolls-Royce Maharaja Phantom Drophead Coupé, a bespoke vehicle created exclusively for Indian customers in Dubai, was unveiled to an invite-only audience last night.

Head of law firm says he will offer better rates than international legal advisors

The head of a new law firm in Dubai believes he will give big-brand international legal advisors in the UAE a run for their money by offering better rates and targeting clients from the largest expat population in the country. Kochhar and Co Inc, the largest international law firm in India, opened its offices in Dubai yesterday.

Strict new rules for garages modifying cars in Dubai

The move is designed to crack down on motorists who alter their autos in a manner that makes them a safety hazard on the city's roads. Ahmad Bahrozyan, executive director of the RTA Licensing Agency, told 7DAYS: "We are considering a very important project in 2015 which will take us into the classification and certification of garages in Dubai, including garages that conduct vehicle modifications.

Lexus coupes are the business of beauty

If those curves instantly catch your eye but she's gone before you can even get a second glimpse long enough to figure who that new model in town is - chances are it's the new RC or the RC F that has zoomed past you.


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