Doha

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Posted by pompos 04/23/2009 @ 14:14

Tags : doha, qatar, arabian peninsula, world

News headlines
US eyes Asia trade vistas after Panama, Doha: Kirk - Reuters
Kirk said President Barack Obama's administration was working "furiously" to resolve outstanding issues with Panama, and was committed to concluding the long-stalled Doha round of global trade talks, launched in 2001. But in a speech to the US Chamber...
US trade official calls for changes to Doha Round negotiating process - Xinhua
GENEVA, May 13 (Xinhua) -- The top US trade negotiator Wednesday called for "changes to the process" of the long-standing Doha Round global trade talks so that a "balanced and ambitious" deal could be reached quickly among WTO members....
Ban urges end to fighting along Chad-Sudan border - UN News Centre
Violence has continued along the border despite the signing of an agreement by the two countries in Doha in early May. The Secretary-General had called on both Governments to work towards fully implementing the pact in the hopes that it would result in...
India poll should boost world trade: Paul Taylor - guardian.co.uk
Trade Minister Kamal Nath, whose dogged defence of India's small farmers helped sink the talks, told Reuters on Sunday: "We believe that it is even more important to conclude the Doha round as one of the measures to extricate the global economic from...
Italy's Prysmian wins 47 mln euro Qatar contract - Reuters
MI) has won a 47 million euro ($63.6 million) contract to develop a turnkey power transmission project serving the Qatar capital Doha, it said on Monday. Prysmian will supply and install extra-high voltage underground power cables as part of a plan to...
$1bn plan for Doha airport expansion - Peninsula On-line
DOHA: Qatar Airways has plans to invest a huge $1bn on infrastructure expansion at the Doha International Airport to cope with a staggering increase in passenger traffic, fleet size and capacity until the new airport opens in 2012....
Qatar bids for 2022 World Cup - Khaleej Times
The ambitious campaign was kicked off by the President of Qatar 22 Shaikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani in front of a 50000 sell-out crowd at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha for the Emir Cup Final. 'Qatar is a land of action and not...
'Mass Means Money:' Al Sayegh Speaks At FT Conference In Doha - Middle East Events (press release)
Abdullatif Alsayegh, CEO of Arab Media Group, one of the largest media groups in the Middle East, yesterday spoke at the Financial Times conference in Doha, the FT Media, Society and Technology Summit, calling for increased localization of television...
The Economist: Rows at Doha Centre for Media Freedom - Journalism.co.uk
“When the Qataris asked Robert Ménard to run what they heralded as the world's first press freedom centre, in Doha, their capital, they were probably asking for trouble. An intrepid Frenchman who had previously run a Paris-based lobby,...
Doha Index Down in Lacklustre Trading - istockAnalyst.com (press release)
(Source: Middle East Financial News)For the third consecutive trading day, the Doha Securities Market (DSM) lost value, closing 1.15% lower at 6465.35 points. Trading volumes were also down by a fifth. Stock performances ranged from plus 2.03%...

Doha

Location of the municipality of Doha within Qatar.

Doha (Arabic: الدوحة‎, transliteration: ad-Dawḥa or ad-Dōḥa) is the capital city of Qatar. It has a population of 400,051 according to the 2005 census, and is located in the Ad Dawhah municipality on the Persian Gulf. Doha is Qatar's largest city, with over 80% of the nation's population residing in Doha or its surrounding suburbs, and is also the economic center of the country. Doha is home to the Education City, an area devoted to research and education. Doha was the site of the first ministerial-level meeting of the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization negotiations. The city of Doha also held the 2006 Asian Games, which was the largest Asian Games ever held.

In 1850, the city of Doha was founded under the name Al-Bida. The name "Doha" came from the Arabic ad-dawha, "the big tree." The reference is to a prominent tree that must have stood at the site where the original fishing village arose, on the eastern coast of the Qatar peninsula. In 1867, during the war between Qatar and Bahrain, Doha had been severely damaged and Abu Dhabi was helping Bahrain. The following year, the British made Muḥammad ibn Thani Al Thani the sheikh of Doha, and he ultimately became ruler of Qatar. In 1882, al Rayyan built the Al Wajbah fortress, in southwestern Doha. The following year, Sheikh Qassim led a Qatari army to victory against the Ottomans.

The city was made capital of the British protectorate of Qatar in 1916, and when the nation gained independence in 1971, Doha remained the capital of Qatar. In 1917, the Al Kout fortress, which is located in the center of the city, was built by Sheikh Abdulla Bin Qassim Al-Thani. Still, during the early 20th century, much of Qatar's economy depended on fishing and pearling, and Doha had about 350 pearling boats. However, after the introduction of the Japanese cultured pearls in the 1930s, the whole region, including the town of Doha, suffered a major depression and Qatar became a poor country, plunged into poverty. This lasted until in the late 1930s, when oil was discovered. However, the exploration and exportation was halted due to the second world war. Today the nation as a whole produces over 800,000 barrels of oil daily. In 1969, the Government House opened. Today it is considered to be Qatar's most prominent landmark.

In 1973 the University of Qatar opened, and in 1975 the Qatar National Museum opened in what was originally the ruler's palace in 1912. The Al Jazeera Arabic satellite television news channel began broadcasting in 1996, with headquarters and broadcast center in Doha. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani currently rules in what some consider to be Qatar's most beautiful city.

The demography of Doha is unusual in that the majority of residents are expatriates, with Qatari nationals forming a minority. The largest portion of expatriates in Qatar are from South Asian countries, mainly India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Bangladesh, with large amounts of expatriates also coming from the Levant Arab countries, North Africa, and East Asia. Doha is also home to expatriates from the United States, Canada, France, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia as well as many other countries from all over the world.

In the past, expatriates in Qatar were not allowed to own land; however, now people who are not Qatari citizens can buy land in several areas of Doha, including the West Bay Lagoon, the Qatar Pearl and the new Lusail City. Ownership by foreigners in Qatar entitles them to a renewable residency permit, which allows them to live and work in Qatar.

Each month tens of thousands immigrate to Qatar and it is estimated that within a few years the population will reach one million. Due to the high influx of incoming residents, there is a severe shortage of housing.

Even though the official religion is Islam, the Emir allocated land in 2006 and 2007 to build churches. In March 2008, the first Catholic Church was opened, but out of respect for locals, Christian symbols are not displayed publicly. Five other churches are under construction.

Much of Qatar's oil and natural gas wealth is visible in Doha, which is the economic centre of Qatar. Doha is home to the headquarters of the country's largest oil and gas companies, including Qatar Petroleum, Qatargas and RasGas. Doha's economy is built on the revenue the country has made from its oil and natural gas industries, and the Qatari government is rapidly trying to diversify the Qatari economy in order to move away from this dependence on oil. As a result, Doha is currently experiencing a very large boom, with the city developing very rapidly - this is mostly the result of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa's modernization program.

Like the nearby city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha's economy is moving away from its dependency on the oil and natural gas industries, although unlike Dubai, Doha's main focus is not tourism. Doha is seeing huge amounts of growth, with the population of the city increasing by more than 60,000 between 2004 and 2006; this has caused a boom in the real estate sector, with real estate prices skyrocketing. According to the BBC, as of late January 2007, Doha is now a more expensive city than Dubai in terms of real estate prices. This rate of growth has led to projects such as the Lusail City project, which is being constructed north of Doha and will eventually house 200,000 people. Construction is also booming in Doha, a result of increasing corporate and commercial activity in Doha. This is most visible with the changing skyline of the city, as Doha has over 50 towers currently being constructed, the largest of which is the Dubai Towers. At the same time, 39 new hotels are joining Qatar's booming tourism market, adding about 9,000 new rooms by 2009.

Qatar Airways is headquartered in the Qatar Airways Tower in Doha.

Education has been a major focus of the Qatari government in recent years. In addition to Qatar University, established in 1973, the government has solicited other universities to establish campuses in Doha, most notably at Education City.

A key player in the educational field in Qatar is the Supreme Council of Communication and Information Technology ictQATAR. Through its e-education program, ictQATAR is bringing together the power of education and ICT in Qatar.

Doha is also home to many international schools established for its expatriate communities, with dozens of different private schools currently operating in the city, such as Qatar Academy, Qatar International School, The American School of Doha, Doha College, DeBakey High School for Health Professions at Qatar, The Qatar Canadian School, Bangladesh M.H.M High School & College, Doha-Qatar and The MES Indian School.

Doha is home to a number of sports stadiums, many of which were renovated in preparation for the 15th Asian Games, held in December 2006, which Doha spent $2.8 billion for preparation. Doha also hosted the 3rd West Asian Games in December 2005. Doha is also expected to host the 2011 Asian Indoor Games; Doha will also host the finals for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. Qatar is aiming to be the region's sports capital.

ASPIRE Academy, launched in 2004, is a sports academy which aims to create world-class athletes. It is situated in the Sports City Complex, which also includes the Khalifa International Stadium, the Hamad Aquatic Centre and the Aspire Tower.

The MotoGP motorcycling grand prix of Doha is held annually at Losail International Circuit, located just north of the city.

The Wall Stadium would become the world's largest underground stadium, dwarfing the Fjellhallen ice-hockey arena in Norway, and would be the main venue for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup. The stadium is estimated to cost 20 million dollars. The stadium will have the latest technology and roads leading to the stadium will be easy. While the New Paralympic stadium south of the new City of Lusail will be the most advance Paralympic stadium.

In 2001 Qatar also became the first country in the Middle East to hold a women’s tennis tournament: Qatar holds both the Qatar Open for Women and the ladies ITF tournament. Since 2008 and at least for 3 years, the Sony Ericsson Championships (equivalent to the ATP's season-ending Championships) takes place in Doha, in the Khalifa International Tennis Complex, and features record prize money of $4.45 million (check of $1,485,000 for the winner, which represents the largest single guaranteed payout in women's tennis today ).

Doha submitted a bid for the 2016 Olympics. It already had more than 70% of the venues ready that were used during the Asian Games in 2006. If Doha had won, an olympic village would have been constructed and would have had the shape of a dove and been 67 hectares in size with a capacity of 18,000 people, housing officials, athletes and coaches. (See Doha 2016 Olympic bid) On June 4, 2008, the city was eliminated from the shortlist for the 2016 Olympic Games.

By air, Doha is currently served by the Doha International Airport, Qatar's only international airport. The airport is the hub of Qatar Airways, a leading regional airline that has recently witnessed a huge expansion. The current airport's facilities have been expanded numerous times in the last decade, but because of the airport's proximity to the city, space for expansion is limited. As a result, a new airport, the New Doha International Airport, is being constructed east of the current airport. The new airport is expected to have a final capacity of 50 million passengers upon completion of its final phase in 2015, and the airport is expected to solve all of the problems currently faced by the current airport. The new airport, at more than 2,000 hectares, will be one of the largest in the world.

Doha has an excellent road network which is currently undergoing vast upgrades, including the construction of many highways. The largest such highway under construction is the Doha expressway. Doha has an extensive bus system operated by the Mowasalat company, which also operates taxis under its Karwa brand. The main mode of transport in Doha, however, is the car, as the bus system is mostly used by the lower-income groups of the country, and there is no metro system operating in the city, although there are plans for the construction of such a system.

The Doha Port is among the country's largest ports, and is located just off the Doha Corniche. The port is the main seaport servicing Doha, although plans for a new port are underway due to the port's location in central Doha and the resultant traffic and pollution problems, the proposed location of the port is near the town of Al Wakra, just south of the New Doha airport.

Doha is situated in the Arabian Peninsula, and as such its climate is very hot. Temperatures average over 40 degrees Celsius (104 °F) from May to September, and humidity is variable. Dewpoints can reach above 25 degrees Celsius in the summer. During the summer months, the city averages almost no precipitation, and less than an inch (25 mm) during other months. Rainfall is scarce (average 70 mm per year), falling on isolated days mostly between October to March. During cool winter nights the temperature can rarely drop below 7 degrees Celsius.

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Doha bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics

Doha 2016 Summer Olympics bid logo.

Doha, the capital city of Qatar, bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. It is the only city in the Arab World other than Cairo, Egypt to mount a serious bid.

Despite speculation due to Doha's strong bid, Doha's bid was eliminated from consideration when it failed to make the Candidate city shortlist on June 4, 2008.

Had Doha been chosen to host the games, they were to be held between October 14 and October 30. The Paralympics were to be held between November 9 and November 21.

The centerpiece of the bid was the expansion of the Aspire Zone sports center, which also houses many other facilities. The Aspire Zone hosted the successful 2006 Asian Games. Doha is also planning a new paralympic stadium, although it is uncertain if it will still be constructed since the end of the bid. The Qatar government committed to full financial guarantees that will cover any cost overruns. With sport as a raison d'etre, Qatar has invested in multi-million dollar projects to upgrade Doha's infrastructure to premium international standards.

The bid had support from the Gulf Cooperation Council, solidifing regional support from the neighboring states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Bid leader Bin Ali stated, "Our aim is to build support for the bid which will be a bid that the whole Arab world can be proud of." 86% of people in Doha City and region support the Olympic bid and 95% of residents were aware of the bid, matching most of the other bid cities.

The Qataris planned to utilize 70% pre-existing venues, most from the 2006 Asian Games. Six venues would be temporary and four will require new construction. Hassan plans to leave legacy buildings with a new Olympic Village and Media Center. Also, much new construction as part of the Qatar long term development plan will result.

The Olympic Village was to be a $USD 1.94 billion 67-hectare development project designed for up to 18,000 athletes. The complex will form the shape of a dove.

Aspire Zone is (approximately) a 240ha precinct that houses an international standard sport stadium, medical facilities, education services and sport academy, mosque, sports club, retail areas and parklands. There are also residential and hotel facilities. It is located approximately 8km from Doha’s Central Business District. Aspire Zone is represented with strong landmarks that will be iconic in their design and function.

Khalifa Stadium is well-tailored to host major sports events of international standard, particularly football (soccer) and athletics. Khalifa Stadium was built in 1976 to seat 20,000. For the 2006 Asian Games, it was expanded to seat 50,000. It will need to be further expanded to meet the Olympic minimum of 60,000. It is linked to a warm-up field. An arch crowns the stadium, which also has a partial roof covering.

The ASPIRE Sports Hall is multi-purpose sports hall with a wide range of corollaries. The sports hall features a gymnasium with an audience seating capacity of 200 persons, judo and karate area with a viewer’s seating capacity of 150 persons, a fencing hall with a spectators seating capacity of 150 persons, a table tennis hall with squash court with an audience seating capacity of 500 persons, Olympic swimming and diving pools, a football court with a seating capacity of 200 persons and a host of other amenities. The total seating capacity of the sports hall is 3000. The support services include restaurants, changing rooms, cafeterias, shops museum, and technical support areas etc.

The Hamad Aquatic Centre was expanded to offer ultra-modern facilities for water sports. The aquatic complex presents extensive facilities for swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo.

This Women’s Sports Hall is designed to provide indoor facilities for basketball, handball, and volleyball, etc. The size of court is around 30X50m with a height of 28 m. The sports hall does have a gallery to accommodate 2000 viewers and additional seating for about 500 persons.

The 300 m-high Aspire Zone Tower, is the tallest building in Qatar. Finished in 2007, the skeleton of the structure is clad in combination of glazing panels and architectural stainless steel mesh, which has been accentuated by state-of-the-art facade lighting. The tower hosts a hotel, restaurant, conference center, and sports museum. This iconic structure crowned by a steel parabolic lattice structure that will be a backdrop for the 8 to 10 meter high gas flame torch, representing the largest Olympic flame in history.

The Qatari government has placed huge investment into developing a local transportation network and to improving accessibility between Qatar and the outside world by land, air and sea. Over the past few years, a great deal has been achieved in terms of building ports, airports and roads, with more under construction or planned.

With the imminent expansion of Qatar Airways, the country is building the New Doha International Airport, capable of handling 50 million passengers a year when it is completed in 2015. The New Doha International Airport is being constructed four kilometres from the existing one, on a 5,400-acre (22 km2) site. The current airport handles around 9 million passengers per year, whereas the new airport will be designed to handle 12.5 million per year. The old airport will be remodeled as well.

Although there is currently no railway network in Qatar, plans are under way, in particular as part of the construction of the new city of Lusail. Lusail's plans include both an underground and aboveground train network, which will be fully integrated with a new rail system in Doha itself. In addition, it plans to develop a new water-taxi service to run along the Doha coastline.

Public transport in Qatar made a major leap forward in 2004 with the launch of The Qatar Transport Company, more commonly known by its Arabic name "Mowasalat". This is a government-owned bus, taxi and limousine service. The Bid Committee is also advocating the use of a range of battery powered taxis and buses in an effort to cut air pollution. Qatar would have the region’s first environmentally friendly public transport system. The Chinese manufacturing company Kinglong is currently developing the prototypes for the vehicles.

The Qatari hotel industry has made impressive progress in the past few years, capitalizing on the country's new role as a key business destination, hosting numerous international conferences and forums. The hotel industry has also benefited from the Qatari government's ongoing campaign to boost tourism to the country.

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar National Hotels Company (QNHC) have set up a number of tourist facilities, recreational centers, exhibition halls, luxurious hotels, shopping centers, sports centers and museums.

The logo's design represents the blossoming of the hopes and aspirations of Qatar, rooted in the rich heritage of the country. The Aldahma, the 'Flower of the Spring', was chosen to represent the vital and energetic spirit of the season. The Aldahma's natural habitat in the sands of the desert draws a parallel with the vibrant and colourful life flourishing in the State of Qatar. The calligraphy strokes making the words 'Doha 2016' are a unique manipulation of the traditional organic Henna patterns that women use to adorn their hands and arms as part of social and holiday celebrations. The interaction between the Arabic calligraphy and the English type is an interpretation of modernity. The logo was created by students at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUQ).

Doha is emerging as a prominent economic center of the Arab World, which has never hosted the Olympics before; this makes the bid similar to Rio's and Baku's bids, which would have been the first to host the games in their respective regions. In 2006, Doha successfully hosted the very well regarded 2006 Asian Games, the centerpiece being its sports city named Aspire Zone. Although it would need expansion with new arenas and stadiums, the overall quality of the facilities is very high. Doha is also a modern city which is currently undergoing a flurry of activity, expanding its number of hotels and road networks to international standards. An oil rich nation, Qatar should have no trouble funding the games.

Some negative factors included the hot temperatures in Doha in the summer (up to 45 °C), which would be difficult for the athletes and spectators. Doha proposed to host the games in mid to late October. While strictly outside the IOC's parameters, late games are not without precedent, such as the Mexico City Games held in October 1968 and the Sydney Games held in September and October 2000. The Paralympics would then be held in November. The Qataris promoted a message of peace with their bid, and while Qatar is a stable country, greater regional concerns over safety and terrorism may have hampered votes.

The overall small size of Doha and Qatar (330,000 and 960,000 respectively) would have made it one of the smallest locations in modern history to host the games. Also, Qatar has a short "sports legacy" when compared to other bidding countries,. Despite this, the IOC gave Doha the same number of points as Chicago did in the applicant round.

Doha's bid ended on June 4, 2008 when it failed to make the Candidate city shortlist. Doha was widely regarded as a wildcard candidate which had true potential to host. Ultimately, the IOC went with a shortlist of four candidates.

Doha and Qatar have also bid, or are planning to bid for numerous other events, including the 2011 The 123rd IOC Session and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Doha Stadium

Doha Stadium (Hebrew: איצטדיון דוחא‎, Etztadion Doha; Arabic: ستاد دوحة‎), is the current home of Bnei Sakhnin.

Located in the small Arab Galilee town of Sakhnin, it was built with public funds largely from the State of Israel and the Qatar National Olympic Committee, and was named after the Qatari city of Doha. The decision by the Qataris to build the stadium in Israel came after a meeting between Member of Knesset, Ahmed Tibi, and Secretary-General of the Qatar National Olympic Committee Sheikh Saoud Abdulrahman Al-Thani after Tibi expressed his concern of the conditions for sport in Sakhnin. The involvement of Qatar was to show that relations between the two nations is peaceful and with a similar interest.

Despite rules set in place by the Israel Football Association that Premier League venues must have a minimum capacity of 6,000, Sakhnin have been allowed to play home matches at the ground. There are plans to expand the stadium's capacity to 15,000.

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Doha International Airport

Panoramic image from the main terminal towards the VIP lounges (left), and planes of Qatar Airways with the skyline of Doha in the background

Doha International Airport (IATA: DOH, ICAO: OTBD) (Arabic: مطار الدوحة الدولى‎) is the only commercial airport in Qatar. It has three mosques, free Wi-Fi, a large duty-free area, a few eateries and 44 airline stands. There are also 60 check in gates, 5 baggage claim belts and over 1,000 car parking spaces.

The airport suffers from over capacity even though the airport has been expanded numerous times. The current capacity stands at 12 million passengers per year. Its 15,000 ft. runway is one of the longest at a civil airport. It is the main base of Qatar Airways. In the past, the airport was mostly used by Qatari Holiday makers and foreign workers coming for the oil and gas sector. Now the airport is attracting more people such as holiday makers and transit travelers, it is also growing as Qatar Airways is expanding more rapidly. British Airways used to operate Concordes on the route.

The existing airport will be replaced in late 2011 or early 2012 when the first phase of New Doha International Airport is expected to open.

The airport is currently ranked as a 3 star by skytrax along with 7 other airports.

Since 1998, the number of passengers and total cargo load has significantly increased.

In 2007, it was listed as the 95th busiest airport in 2007 and handled over 14 million passengers. It also had the highest percentage of growth at 22.1%.

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Source : Wikipedia