Illustration by Joaquin Kunkel

UAE Updates

A rundown on what's happening in the UAE this week.

Feb 4, 2018

UAE in Deep Mourning for the Death of Sheikha Hessa
Authoritative figures in the UAE came together to mourn the passing of Sheikha Hessa bint Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the mother of the UAE President, Khalifa bin Zayed, and wife of the late founder of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan. The leaders gathered at Al Mu’tareed Mosque in Al Ain this Sunday to offer their prayers to Allah to rest Sheikha Hessa’s soul in peace. The courts also announced on Sunday that there is to be a three-day mourning period, during which the flags will be flown at half-mast.
Many also turned to social media platforms such as Twitter to express their deep sorrows over the death.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid expressed his condolences by tweeting: “My deepest condolences to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and all the people of the UAE, on our loss of his mother Her Highness Sheikha Hessa bint Mohammed Al Nahyan. May she rest in peace.”
“From God we come and to Him we return. With great sorrow and sadness, we mourn the loss of the President’s mother. May God give her recognition for her giving — to her family, UAE people and the country. May God bless her soul and grant her paradise, and grant us all the strength to endure and persevere,” Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed tweeted.
Etihad Airways Implements New Baggage Policy
Etihad Airways has recently introduced a new baggage policy, which is based on the cumulative weight of luggage rather than the number of pieces of luggage checked in. The previous regulation stated that passengers could check in two pieces of luggage, each weighing up to 23 kg, but the new rule limits the cumulative weight of baggage to 30 kg.
This policy is implemented across various international markets, excluding the U.S. and Canada.
“In line with global best practice and market trends, Etihad Airways has developed a baggage policy that best caters to the differing needs of our guests around the world. The switch to a policy based on weight rather than the number of bags simplifies our allowance system and provides greater convenience and customer benefit while enhancing the travel experience,” said Mohammad al Bulooki, the Executive Vice President Commercial of the airline.
The new change will mean that the majority of the world’s markets will allow 23 kg of luggage on Economy Deal fares, whereas Business Class passangers will be able to check in 40 kg of luggage.
UAE Hires its First Women Firefighters
The UAE has welcomed its first female firefighters as a part of a new program launched in Sharjah Civil Defence. The department hired fifteen Emirati women who joined the nation’s first Women’s Firefighting Unit. This change is unprecedented; an all-female firefighting unit has never existed before in the UAE. According to Gulf News, “The group is believed to be a first in the UAE and the Middle East.”
The newly hired women will take on roles that are traditionally reserved for men and have expressed great enthusiasm for the opportunity.
Many of the new recruits have stated that it was their passion for helping others and hope to inspire young women to pursue their dreams that encouraged them to apply for the job.
“I learned a lot of [First Aid] skills in the school when I attended a Civil Defence training. I hope others follow our example. The main thing which made me want to become a firefighter is that I had seen fires and could not offer my help,” said Fatima Salem, one of the fifteen members of the unit.
Salem’s colleague, Wijdan Al Mazimi, acknowledged the fact that it may be difficult for society to accept women in a profession traditionally dominated by men.
“We want to break down the barrier that keeps women from working in this profession. In a fire, there are no women and no men, only firefighters working as one to salvage a situation. When I am saving a victim, I should think only of saving this life. I would like to be [as] distinguished firefighter [as] the UAE’s first female pilot Mariam Al Mansouri,” said Al Mazimi.
Cece Kim is News Deputy. Email her at
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