Now WhatsApp users around the world can communicate better with friends and family using new feature

Dubai: WhatsApp users around the world have a reason to rejoice this week with the new feature allowing voice and video group calls just rolled out.

The Facebook-owned messaging app announced that its millions of subscribers worldwide can now get in touch with their friends and family in a group video or voice chat.

 Facebook and WhatsApp logos

The feature went live on Tuesday on the iPhone and Android versions of the app. It allows up to four people, regardless of their location, to connect via a video or voice call simultaneously.

whatsapp

“We’re excited to announce that group calls for voice and video are coming to WhatsApp starting today,” the company said in a statement released on July 30.

It assured that group calls are “end-to-end encrypted” and can work "reliably around the world in different network conditions."

However, with voice and video calls over the internet still facing restrictions in UAE, users in the country may not be able to access the new group chat feature yet.

While voice and video calls have been enjoyed by WhatsApp users around the world over the last few years, UAE residents are able to use the app mostly for text messaging and video or image sharing.

Voice and video calls over the internet are available in UAE only through VoIP-based apps Botim and C’Me offered by Etisalat and du.

“This is  great news for other users, but for us here, it’s sad because we can’t use the group call feature,” said one WhatsApp user in UAE, reacting to the latest service upgrade.

Claire from the Philippines said that since calls via WhatsApp and other platforms such as Skype and Viber are still banned in UAE, she only communicates with her family back home through text messaging.

“I don’t make long-distance calls more than once a month since it’s expensive. If only voice calls are allowed on WhatsApp, I’d call my father every day,” she said.

UAE residents had a pleasant surprise in June last year when the voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) function on WhatsApp worked for thousands of users for about a day

But the celebration quickly subsided when the voice calling feature was again blocked, with the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) confirming that its policy on VoIP still stands.

Big brands aiming to reach millions of consumers across the Arab world are rethinking their influencer budgets after a video by a disgraced Kuwaiti blogger went viral last week.
 
 Source: arabnews
 
Screenshot 2018 07 26 08 24 14

Beauty brands rushed to disassociate themselves from Sondoss Al-Qattan following the widespread sharing of her video criticizing new provisions to protect Filipino domestic workers. 

Al-Qattan, a make-up artist who has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, sparked an international outcry on social media as users demanded brands withdraw their support.

The calls came in response to her widely circulated comments criticizing a new Kuwaiti law granting Filipino domestic workers one day off per week. The provisions also removed the employer’s right to withhold their passport and required 22 days annual leave for workers.

The incident comes as a wake-up call for global and regional brands eager to enlist the region’s most prominent blogger to tap into the lucrative Middle East market. 

“Brands definitely have a bigger responsibility to look behind the number of engagements and actually look into the influencers’ ideas, ethics and attitude,” said Amer Massimi, CEO of Starfish Influencers Agency, which operates a mobile app with more than 5000 people from countries across the GCC. 

Cosmetics companies, including Max Factor Arabia, MAC Cosmetics, Chelsea Beautique, Anatasia Beverly Hills and French perfume brand M. Micallef — who have all since cut ties with Al-Qattan — watched social media sentiment shift against them as users suggested they prioritized the value of a large following over their ambassadors’ ethics. 

A spokesperson for Anastasia Beverly Hills told Arab News: “We are deeply disappointed by Sondos Al-Qattan’s remarks surrounding Kuwait’s updated labor laws. These comments completely contradict the core values of Anastasia Beverly Hills and we have not and never will condone any hateful, discriminatory views. Sondos is not affiliated, employed or collaborating with ABH. As a result of her statements, ABH has unfollowed Sondos and removed her from our PR list.”

“Anybody who thinks keeping their employee’s passport is their right and anybody who believes a working person does not deserve at least one day off, is out of touch with humanity,” a former follower of Al-Qattan’s wrote on Twitter.

“Seeing as Sondos Al-Qattan represents @MaxFactorArabia, does the brand support her appalling statements about domestic workers?” another wrote, tagging the brand.

Most of the beauty brands formerly linked to Al-Qattan have since severed ties and issued statements strongly denying their association with the views expressed in her post, which has received millions of views across multiple platforms. 

MAC Cosmetics said, “We currently do not have any partnerships with her and will no longer be working with her on any brand activities.” The company aims to align itself with “partners that share our core values and in no way tolerates excluding anyone,” it wrote in a statement.

Experts said that it can be difficult for brands to predict the behavior of influencers but stressed the responsibility of both parties to ensure the partnership is based on mutual understanding.

“From a consumer perspective, I actually feel for the brands — they signed with her before the comments were made and are now receiving the backlash of her actions; not their own,” said Giselle Onanian, founder of Plan.G, a brand consultancy based in Dubai.

But equally, brands need to do due diligence when it comes to evaluating the character of the people that they choose to represent them, not just the follower size, she said. 

“This isn’t just the values and ethics of the influencers they have to consider, it’s of themselves too. Is this someone that they genuinely feel fits their brand, genuinely personifies their product or is a reflection of their user? Or just a good place to put some money?”

Experts said that the influencer industry is going from strength to strength in Gulf countries such as the UAE, where budgets for social media marketing can be as much as $50,000 per social media influencer campaign, according to a survey released last year by BPG Cohn & Wolfe.

“It is one of the fastest-growing industries in the Middle East and brands are beginning to realize the important of influencer marketing and redirect budgets accordingly,” Alexandra Williams, MD at iHC Influencer Marketing, told Arab News earlier this year. 

“The ad-hoc nature of the business makes it very easy for brands to disconnect with an influencer potentially harmful for their image and move onto the next,” added Ian Hainey, CEO at the company.

In the video Al-Qattan grumbled: “The new laws that have been passed are like a pathetic film. For her (domestic worker)to take a day off every week, that’s four days a month. Those are the days that she’ll be out. And we don’t know what she’ll be doing on those days, with her passport on her.”

She later responded to negative media coverage by saying the backlash against her remarks was an attack on her as a hijab-wearing woman, the state of Kuwait and Islam as a whole. 

Her failure to apologize made the situation worse, Massimi said, adding that his agency would “never suggest her name in the future to our partners. I’m sure that’s the conclusion of many other agencies in the region.” After this, he said, “It would be suicidal for any brand to continue working with her.”

Cosmetics Giant Max Factor Arabia said it was “shocked” at Al-Qattan’s remarks and Chelsea Beautique posted a statement on Twitter saying: “We believe that decent working conditions should be provided to everyone and such behavior does not represent our brand’s core beliefs.”

The new law follows a dispute between Kuwait and the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte after he imposed a partial ban on workers traveling to the Gulf country when the body of a murdered Filipino maid was found in a freezer.

About 60 percent of the 250,000 Filippinos in Kuwait are domestic workers and the country has been under pressure from the international community to improve a system that human rights groups have described as a breeding ground for poor working conditions.

“Sadly, I think too many brands just throw money at influencers and make some very big decisions in a rush and without doing proper research into things often far more important than numbers,” said Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, founder of TishTash Marketing & Public Relations.

“If Sondos had come out with some humility and remorse, apologizing for her comments and explaining maybe why they were out of context or showed some lack of judgement, then we could be in a different situation today than we are.

“I have rarely today seen any influencer so vilified and not just on a regional level, but globally too and this is a very tricky place to come back from,” she said.

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting, table and indoor

Kuwait Legal measures are currently being taken against illegal residents those under visit visas and their fining sponsors and halting their transactions in all areas of the state.

A UAE health authority found dangerously high levels of mercury in a brand of skin whitening cream

Dubai: Health authorities in the UAE have banned a skin whitening cream for containing a hazardous level of mercury.

Mena Facial Cream, which were sold in a number of retail outlets and on social networking sites, was used to lighten skin and remove dark pigmentation, as well as dark circles under the eyes.

 

The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi announced that after carrying out a number of laboratory tests on product samples, the results indicated a high percentage of mercury level in the Mena facial cream.

Health officials explained that high mercury levels poses a serious health risk to children and pregnant women, and can lead to symptoms that include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, muscular contractions, diarrhoea, anaemia and problems with the nervous system.   

The Department of Health confirmed that it issued a circular to all government departments to ban the Mena brand of facial cream, and warned the public against purchasing product.

Residents in Abu Dhabi can contact the Abu Dhabi Government Contact Centre on 800555 to find out which medicines approved by the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HAAD) or visit the website www.haad.ae.

Residents in Dubai can call the municipality’s hotline number 800900 to verify the registration status of consumer health products.

Stargazers who will be treated to a much clearer view of the red planet tonight, as Mars will appear bigger and brighter in the night sky than it has for the last 15 years.

Throughout the month of July, the orbits of Mars and Earth have been steadily aligning in a rare phenomenon known as 'perihelic opposition', which occurs when Mars, Earth, and the sun align – with our planet in the middle.

As Mars' orbit reaches its closest point to the sun, the red planet will appear almost three times larger than normal in the night sky.

According to Nasa, the phenomenon takes place between 15 to 17 years, meaning the next time Mars will pass close to our planet will be September 15 2035.  

Although stargazers all over the world will be able to see the red planet in all its glory today – provided they have clear skies – astronomers in the southern hemisphere are set to be treated to the best view. 

Throughout the month of July, the orbit of Mars and Earth will align in a rare phenomenon known as perihelic opposition. This will see Mars appear bigger and brighter in the sky than it has for the last 15 years

Throughout the month of July, the orbit of Mars and Earth will align in a rare phenomenon known as perihelic opposition. This will see Mars appear bigger and brighter in the sky than it has for the last 15 years

As mankind is gearing up to land on Mars, the red planet is orbiting closer to Earth than it has done in more than a decade. Known as perihelic opposition, it means Mars will appear larger than normal in the night sky

As mankind is gearing up to land on Mars, the red planet is orbiting closer to Earth than it has done in more than a decade. Known as perihelic opposition, it means Mars will appear larger than normal in the night sky

Dr Mark Birkinshaw, a professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol, told MailOnline: 'Mars is unusually close to the Earth at the present – it makes its closest approach on July 31, at 0.385 AU (35.7 million miles/57.5 million km).'

The exact moment of closest approach took place at 8:45am BST (3:45am EDT) July 31, with the red planet invisible to the naked eye in daylight to those in the UK, mainland Europe, Africa, Russia and Asia.

However, as the sun sets later today, July 31, stargazers will be treated to the closest view of the red planet.

Earth is separated from Mars by an asteroid belt, with the typical distance between the two planets sitting at around 140 million miles (225 million kilometres).

However, tonight that will drop to 35.78 million miles (57.59 million kilometres).

For those in the northern hemisphere, Mars will appear to rise in the east just as the sun sets in the west, making the sunlit side of the planet visible throughout the night.

Mars should be visible in the southeast, located just below the Sagittarius constellation, with Saturn also nearby. 

The best views will be visible in the hours before dawn.

Those in the southern hemisphere will be treated to the best view of the perihelic opposition, as the red planet will appear higher in the night sky.

 

HOW TO VIEW MARS IN THE NIGHT SKY, AS RED PLANET PASSES CLOSER TO EARTH THAN USUAL 

On July 27, Mars will pass closer to Earth than it has done for 15 years.

The phenomenon, known as perihelic opposition, will make the red planet appear larger and brighter than normal in the night sky.

The rare event occurs when Mars reaches its closest point to the sun as the same time as Earth's orbit brings it directly between the two.

Although the actual point of opposition will take place on July 27, Mars will be noticeably larger for the majority of the month of July.

Perihelic opposition can be seen with the naked eye, meaning there's no need for expensive equipment for stargazers to spot the rare event next month. 

It will outshine Jupiter, registering as some 1.8 times brighter in the night sky.

Mars will be up all night, rising after sunset and setting at sunrise.

Stargazers hoping to spot the red planet from the northern hemisphere should check the sky in the hours before dawn.

Mars should be visible in the southeast, located just below the Sagittarius constellation.

Meanwhile, the best view of the phenomenon will be enjoyed in the southern hemisphere. 

For example, New Zealand capital Wellington will enjoy a view of the red planet as it reaches a maximum altitude of 74 degrees in the sky at the end of July.

For people unable to get outside or those with a view hindered by cloud cover, The Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will air a webcast for the celestial event, which will be coupled with expert commentary.

'The closeness and brightness of Mars, plus the near location of Saturn (Mars and Saturn were in conjunction in early April) should make this good to observe,' Dr Birkinshaw said.

In the days before Mars Close Approach, the planet will look around three times brighter in our sky than it normally does.

It will also outshine Jupiter, registering as 1.8 times brighter in the night sky.

Mars will be up all night, rising after sunset and setting at sunrise. Mars should be visible in the southeast, located just below the Sagittarius constellation, with Saturn also nearby 

Mars will be up all night, rising after sunset and setting at sunrise. Mars should be visible in the southeast, located just below the Sagittarius constellation, with Saturn also nearby 

Due to the variation between the orbits of Earth and Mars, opposition (pictured) can happen anywhere along Mars' orbit. What makes this event so rare and significant is that this also occurs within a few weeks of Mars' perihelion (the point in its orbit when it is closest to the sun) Graphic reconstruction shows moment Mars, Earth and sun are aligned
 

Due to the variation between the orbits of Earth and Mars, opposition (pictured) can happen anywhere along Mars' orbit. What makes this event so rare and significant is that this also occurs within a few weeks of Mars' perihelion (the point in its orbit when it is closest to the sun) Graphic reconstruction shows moment Mars, Earth and sun are aligned

That means Mars will temporarily become the fourth-brightest object in the sky, ranking after the sun, the moon and Venus.

Mars will be up all night, rising after sunset and setting just before sunrise.

Opposition is a reasonably common occurrence, taking place once every 26 months.

This is where Earth is sandwiched directly between the sun and Mars, in a similar fashion to the way it aligns itself with the moon each month.

However, due to the variation between the orbits of Earth and Mars, opposition can happen anywhere along Mars' orbit.

What makes this particular event so rare, is that the position of the Earth between the red planet and sun will occur within a few weeks of Mars' perihelion — the point in its orbit when it is closest to the sun.

This coincidence, known as perihelic opposition, only happens every 15 to 17 years.

The last time it happened was in 2003, and on that occasion the two planets were closer than they had been for almost 60,000 years.

During that opposition, Mars was only 34.65 million miles (55.76 million kilometres) from the surface of our planet. This exact level of proximity will not happen again until until August 29 2287, according to some estimates.

 

WHAT IS PERIHELIC OPPOSITION?

Earth makes two trips around the sun in around the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip.

This means sometimes the two planets are on opposite sides of the sun, very far apart, and other times, Earth catches up with its neighbour and passes relatively close to it.

During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.

The effect of opposition is similar to the effect of the full moon seen once a month when Earth is positioned directly between our natural satellite and the sun.

Perehelia is when mars is at the point in its orbit where it is closest to the sun. 

This happens every 26 months or so, and due to Mars having an increasingly elliptical orbit the point of perihelia is becoming closer and closer to our star. 

These two events rarely overlap, and a perihelic opposition occurs only once every 15 to 17 years.

Earth makes two trips around the sun in around the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip

Earth makes two trips around the sun in around the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip

Whilst the orbits are predictable to an extent, external variables such as gravitational pull surroundings moons, stars and other planets means some perihelic oppositions bring us closer to our neighbour than others. 

The orbit of the two planets are also slightly different.

Mars' orbit is more elliptical than that of Earth, so the difference between perihelion (the closest point to the sun) and aphelion (the furthest point away from the sun) is much greater, varying by around 26 million miles (43 million kilometres). 

Scientists have discovered that over many centuries, the orbit of Mars is becoming more elongated.

This means the difference between perihelion and aphelion is continuously growing.

This means future perihelic oppositions will bring Earth and Mars even closer. 

 

Kuwaiti Couple Banned From Leaving Sri Lanka Over Airport Assault

The 32-year-old woman and her 29-year-old male partner were arrested on Friday after they turned violent after being informed of quarantine requirements.

 
 
COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan court Monday impounded the passports of a Kuwaiti couple who tried to smuggle a dog into the country and assaulted five customs officers who tried to stop them.

A magistrate ordered immigration authorities to prevent the couple from leaving Sri Lanka and fixed a court hearing for August 10.

The 32-year-old woman and her 29-year-old male partner were arrested on Friday after they turned violent after being informed of quarantine requirements.

They assaulted five customs officers who tried to stop them fleeing the airport with the animal, police said.

The couple has been released on a 400,000 -rupee ($2,500) bail. The dog, a Bernese mountain breed, remains with them.

The tourists were also ordered to be present at a separate customs investigation.

"We will question them on Tuesday and appropriate action will be taken thereafter," customs department spokesman Vipula Minuwanpitiya told AFP.

Bringing pets into the island without quarantine clearance can lead to the forfeiture of the animal as well as a fine of up to 100,000 rupees ($625).

Airport police said they had never recorded such a case over a pet dog.

Source: ndtv

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 11:03

India withdraws 4 million people

The Muslim minority considers it a target and fears the repetition of the Rohingya scenario

Indian authorities are moving to withdraw the citizenship of four million people in Assam state, amid suspicions of targeting the Muslim minority, as happened to the Rohingya in neighboring Bangladesh. 

The authorities, which announced they want to combat illegal immigration from Bangladesh, offered yesterday the National Register of Citizens Project, which enumerates the state's population, who were able to prove that they were there before 1973 when millions fled the war that accompanied Bangladesh's independence. 

There are fears, however, that Hindu nationalists may exploit the statistics for exposure to the Bengali-speaking Muslim minority in a state governed by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narandra Modi.

With the announcement of the project, state security forces were put on high alert, 55,000 police officers were called to duty, some 22,000 paramilitaries were deployed throughout the state, and more than four people were arrested. 

About 30 million people were registered in the register and only 4 million were excluded by the authorities, he said, adding that those who were not named could "object to a specific procedure" from Aug. 30, with the final list ready by December. Next. On the other hand, human rights groups denounced the government's project, saying that withdrawing citizenship from the population is similar to what Myanmar did when it stripped the Rohingya minority of their rights and protection in 1982. 


 (New Delhi)

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 10:59

Kuwait Eid al-Adha Holidays

Tuesday, 31 July 2018 08:32

Kuwait inspection campaign on buildings

Image result for Philippine passport

The Population of Filipinos in Saudi Arabia: Around 1.1 million Filipinos are living in Saudi Arabia which constitutes 3% of the total population of Saudi Arabia, so we have decided to educate them about their right to travel without thinking about visa to the countries.

69 Countries: Yes, Philippines Passport holders can travel to 69 countries without applying for visas. We have given a list of countries where Philippines Passport holders are not required to take visa or visa is available on arrival.

Visa-free access or on arrival visa to these countries is available for a period of 7 days to 90 days to Philippines citizens.

Although there are 69 countries in the below list I am sure you have not even heard names of most of these countries before. Most of the countries in this list are those countries where visitors do not want to travel.

Some well-known countries where Philippines Passport holders can travel without a visa or on arrival visa is available to them are Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Singapore, and Thailand.

Check the full list of countries where Philippines Passport holders can travel without a visa. Philippines Passport ranks 66th in the world in terms of countries allowed without a visa. Saudi Arabian passport ranks at 57th.

1 –  Armenia – Visa on Arrival is available for 120 days

2 –  Benin – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

3 –  Bolivia – Visa not required for 90 days

4 –  Brazil – Visa not required for 90 days

5 –  Brunei – Visa not required for 14 days

6 –  Cambodia – Visa not required for 21 days

7 –  Cape Verde – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

8 –  Colombia – Visa not required for 180 days

9 –  Comoros – Visa on Arrival is available for 45 days

10 –  Costa Rica – Visa not required for 90 days

11 –  Côte d'Ivoire – Visa not required for 90 days

12 –  Dominica – Visa not required for 21 days

13 –  Ecuador – Visa not required for 90 days

14 –  Fiji – Visa not required for 4 months

15 –  Gambia – Visa not required for 90 days

16 –  Guinea-Bissau – Visa on Arrival is available for 90 days

17 –  Haiti – Visa not required for 3 months

18 –  Indonesia – Visa not required for 30 days

19 –  Iran – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

20 –  Israel – Visa not required for 3 months

21 –  Kenya – Visa on Arrival is available for 3 months

22 –  Kyrgyzstan – Visa on Arrival is available for 1 month

23 –  Laos – Visa not required for 30 days

24 –  Madagascar – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

25 –  Malawi – Visa on Arrival is available for 90 days

26 –  Malaysia – Visa not required for 30 days

27 –  Maldives – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

28 –  Marshall Islands – Visa on Arrival is available for 90 days

29 –  Mauritania – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

30 –  Mauritius – Visa on Arrival is available for 60 days

31 –  Micronesia – Visa not required for 30 days

32 –  Mongolia – Visa not required for 21 days

33 –  Morocco – Visa not required for 90 days

34 –  Mozambique – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

35 –  Myanmar – Visa not required for 14 days

36 –    Nepal – Visa on Arrival is available for 90 days

37 –  Nicaragua – Visa on Arrival is available for 90 days

38 –  Palau – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

39 –  Papua New Guinea – Visa on Arrival is available for 60 days

40 –  Peru – Visa not required for 183 days

41 –  Rwanda – Visa not required for 90 days

42 –  Saint Lucia – Visa on Arrival is available for 6 weeks

43 –  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – Visa not required for 1 month

44 –  Samoa – Visa on Arrival is available for 60 days

45 –  Seychelles – Visa on Arrival is available for 3 months

46 –  Singapore – Visa not required for 30 days

47 –  Somalia – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

48 –  Sri Lanka – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

49 –  Suriname – Visa not required for 90 days

50 –  Tanzania – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

51 –  Thailand – Visa not required for 30 days

 

52 –  Timor-Leste – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

53 –  Togo – Visa on Arrival is available for 7 days

54 –  Trinidad and Tobago – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

55 –  Tuvalu – Visa on Arrival is available for 1 month

56 –  Uganda – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

57 –  Vanuatu – Visa not required for 30 days

58 –  Vietnam – Visa not required for 21 days

59 –  Somaliland – Visa on Arrival is available for 30 days

60 –  Hong Kong – Visa not required for 14 days

61 –  Kish Island – Visa not required for 30 days

62 –  Macao – Visa not required for 30 days

63 –  Taiwan – Visa not required for 14 days

64 –  Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – Visa not required for 3 months

65 –  Svalbard – Visa not required for Unlimited Time

66 –  Transnistria – Visa not required for 30 days

67 –  Cook Islands – Visa not required for 31 days

68 –  Niue – Visa not required for 30 days

69 –  Pitcairn Islands – Visa not required for 14 days

Prev5678...1011121314Next
Page 10 of 208