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Shireen Abu Akleh killing: ‘She was the voice of events in Palestine’

Shireen Abu Akleh, the Al Jazeera correspondent who has been shot and killed in Jenin in the West Bank, was a veteran observer of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, renowned across the Arab world as an authoritative voice on the region’s most contested story.

The 51-year-old joint Palestinian and US citizen had reported from nearly every flashpoint in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem over a three-decade career that saw her regularly criss cross between both sides telling the stories of Palestinians and Israelis from homes, battlegrounds and the drawing rooms of leaders.

She covered the second intifada, the Israeli siege of Jenin in 2002, the death of Yasser Arafat, numerous West Bank raids and faltering attempts to find a sustainable peace between both sides.

Abu Akleh was highly regarded throughout the region and was seen as one of the network’s pre-eminent talents, whose coverage faced the intense scrutiny of vested interests on both sides of the conflict since she made her on-screen debut in 1997.

Shireen Abu Akleh
‘She truly was a fixture of the Palestinian story.’ Shireen Abu Akleh. Photograph: AP

“Shireen is the face/voice of events in the Palestinian territory – probably everyone who follows news from there knows her,” said Tamara al-Rifai, the senior spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). “It’s not possible to follow news from the West Bank and not have heard/seen reporting from Shireen.

“She truly was a fixture of the Palestinian story and the fact that she has covered so many stormy events unscathed makes her death today even more shocking.”

Muzna Shihabi, a longstanding friend, said: “Shireen is a resilient person who lost her parents at a very young age but she bounced back and got her journalism degree at a time where journalists in the Arab world were just followers of their governments.

“She knew things were changing and she kept going on until she became the storyteller of the Palestine cause. She is a reference in the Arab world. Everyone in the street would stop and salute her for her courage and determination and unique way of telling the stories of Palestinians. Arabs cannot go to Palestine. Shireen took them there.”

Abu Akleh’s colleagues claim she was killed by Israeli fire shortly after arriving at the scene of a raid near Jenin. Israel has contested the claim, suggesting Palestinan gunmen may have been responsible.

The US ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, said he was “very sad” to learn of Abu Akleh’s death. “I encourage a thorough investigation into the circumstances of her death and the injury of at least one other journalist today in Jenin,” he tweeted.

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Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates Eid Al Fitr with family-friendly events

Louvre Abu Dhabi celebrates Eid Al Fitr with family-friendly events

Across the Emirates, cultural institutions are putting on a special show for Eid Al Fitr 2022, whether that’s by staging dance or music performances or simply offering free entry to its guests.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is no exception, as the arts museum has a curated programme devised for the festivities.

This includes a selection of film screenings, a concert set to a silent movie, drawing sessions for children and an ongoing audiovisual experience by Emirati artist Ahmad Al Dhaheri.

Here’s what’s on offer, all with free entry.


Date: Wednesday, May 4

Time: 2pm

Children aged 6 and above will enjoy a screening of this 78-minute animated film that’s inspired by the true story of the first giraffe to visit France. It tells the tale of the everlasting friendship between a little boy and the orphaned giraffe.

‘Around the World in 80 Days’

Date: Wednesday, May 4

Time: 4pm

This film screening is suitable for children aged 10 and above. The movie takes viewers on a trip around the world in 80 days with a British inventor, Chinese valet and an aspiring French artist, as they all attempt to circle the Earth to win a bet.

‘The Adventures of Prince Achmed’

Date: Wednesday, May 4

Time: 7pm

A live band has created a soundtrack for this classic silent film. The concert, to be held in collaboration with Cinema Akil and Berklee Abu Dhabi, will mix improvisations with contemporary electronic music from the Arab world, and the unique event is suitable for people aged 9 and above.

‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

Date: Thursday, May 5

Time: 2pm

This animated fantasy film, which is suitable for children aged 9 and above, follows a young boy named Kubo who magically manipulates origami with music in a quest to defeat evil. The morals of the story are family ties and the ability to rewrite destiny.

‘The Dot’

Date: Thursday, May 5

Time: 4pm

This short film will inspire viewers aged 3 and above to create their own drawings in a sketching session. It aims to inspire children to find their ambition, believe in themselves and fight for what they love.

‘Physiognomy, Land and Territory’

Date: Until May 15

Time: Friday to Sunday 5.30pm-6.30pm and 5.30pm-9pm on Wednesday, May 4

'Physiognomy, Land and Territory' by Emirati artist Ahmad Al Dhaheri. Photo: Louvre Abu Dhabi

This audiovisual journey launched recently at Louvre Abu Dhabi and will be on show later in the evening on Wednesday for Eid visitors. Emirati artist Ahmad Al Dhaheri’s experience was inspired by Bedouin beliefs and takes viewers through various environments across several continents with beautiful landscapes, all showcased against the night sky backdrop.

Al Bahra

Date: Until 15 May

Time: 5.30pm-midnight

This ongoing audiovisual experience that’s taking place under the Louvre Abu Dhabi dome features the immersive augmented reality of the Damascene courtyard around the Ottoman Pavement, Al Bahra. This is on show throughout Eid for visitors to explore.

Updated: May 01, 2022, 9:25 AM

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Abu Dhabi eases entry for non-vaccinated people to public events

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Abu Dhabi: The capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has eased entry access for non-vaccinated visitors to events, tourist attractions, and cultural sites in the Emirates, effective from Thursday, 17 March 2022.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disaster committee announced that non-vaccinated people can now present a negative PCR test result, issued in the past 48 hours, to enter various venues and locations in the capital city.

The updated guidelines are part of reduced precautionary measures in line with the ongoing recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MS Education Academy

Previously, the authorities in Abu Dhabi said unvaccinated people could only access supermarkets and pharmacies. The entry to public places was limited to vaccinated people, provided they tested frequently enough to maintain green status on their Al Hosn app.

Easing restrictions

As of February 26, 2022, the UAE National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority, in coordination with its main partners, announced the update of the precautionary and preventive measures for COVID-19.

Masks are mandatory in enclosed spaces

Wearing face masks will no longer be mandatory on people in outdoor/public spaces.

Quarantine rules for infected and COVID-19 contacts

The authority also decided to abolish quarantine requirements for those who come into contact with a positive COVID-19 case but do not show any viral symptoms. However, COVID-19 contacts working in all sectors of the state will have to perform PCR tests daily for five consecutive days to ensure they are not infected and are able to return to work safely.

The rules for the isolation period for the infected will continue, as previously announced, without any change. However, those infected will not wear wristbands during the quarantine.

Rules for Mosques

The NCEMA approved a return to the pre-pandemic time intervals between the call to prayer and the iqaamah, and agreed to allow mosques to make available a limited number of copies of the Qur’an, which must be sterilized after each use.

The current requirement of physical distancing for worshipers in mosques and other places of worship is to remain at least one meter apart.

Conditions for arrival and entry to the country

With regard to those coming to the UAE, the National Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Management Authority said fully vaccinated passengers only need to show a COVID-19 vaccine certificate with a readable QR code.

Those who are not vaccinated must show a negative PCR test conducted within 48 hours of departure or a recovery certificate with a QR code proving they have recovered from COVID-19 within a month of the date of travel.

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Abu Dhabi’s IHC acquires 70% stake in Arena Events for Dhs239.8m – Gulf Business

International Holding Company
International Holding Company

Abu Dhabi-headquartered multi-sector conglomerate, International Holding Company (IHC), has acquired a 70 per cent stake in Arena Events Group for Dhs239.8m.

IHC acquired the majority stake in Arena, an event structures and entertainment services business, previously listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange.

The transaction will see TasHeel Holding Group, Arena’s existing largest shareholder, partner with IHC to further Arena’s operations

Paul Berger, the current Arena EMEA CEO, will transition to become Arena’s global CEO.

Arena is one of the world’s largest event and hospitality structure companies. It provides turnkey event solutions, such as temporary physical structures, modular construction, seating and grandstands, ice rinks, and interior fit out for an extensive portfolio of major sporting, outdoor and leisure events in the UK, North America, Middle East and Asia.

Its latest projects include the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the two newest Formula 1 Grand Prix races in Miami and Jeddah, and the CJ Cup golf event in Korea.

Newly appointed chairman of the Arena Events Group, Peter Abraam, added: “Arena’s established expertise, 15 global offices, 260-year heritage and 1,000-plus employees across multiple regions remain at the core of enhancing and growing our international footprint and offering. With the largest stock of clear span structure in America, and the second largest inventory of grandstand seating globally, Arena’s ambitions are limitless. IHC aims to provide Arena the backing to strengthen the foothold and capabilities of each of its territory headquarters in the UK, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.”

In 2021, IHC reported an all-time-high annual revenue of Dhs28.3bn, an increase of 303 per cent year-on-year. It also reported unaudited net profits of Dhs11.3bn for the period ending December 2021, and increase of an increase of 275 per cent from the Dhs3bn it reported the previous year. IHC’s total assets increased to Dhs87bn by the end oflast year, up 520 per cent from Dhs14bn in 2020.