Omaima Saad's journey: From translator to innovator at BAB Middle East

BAB Middle East, excels in the art of mind-reading and skillful expression. The company is renowned for delivering innovative, affordable, and rapid custom language services and copywriting expertise, tailored to foster cultural connections and meet industry demands. In the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary business, AI emerges as a promising force with its learning and improving capabilities, and BAB Middle East is at the forefront of harnessing this potential.Within the realm of BAB ME's content creation, AI's brilliance harmonizes with innate human creativity, infusing an authentic human touch into the content. As a result, BAB ME has unveiled its pioneering copy-shop, a hub designed to offer AI-powered translations, copywriting solutions, interpretation services, and meticulously perfected proofreading tasks, all under the watchful eye of human experts.In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Omaima Saad, Managing Partner and Arabic Creative Director at BAB Middle East, sheds light on the unique and practical copy-shop dedicated to crafting creative, cost-effective copies. Here are some excerpts from the interview:Can you please share your career journey with us? Have you experienced any highs and lows in your career that you would like to mention?I started as a translator in Beirut right after my graduation, then I moved to Dubai where I started my advertising career, I joined Grey Group as an Arabic copywriter and stayed for almost 15 years. I have always been passionate about the Arabic language, looking for new creative ways to craft it. Not to forget the challenges we had back in the days, when we had to come up with new Arabic terms to reflect everything happening in the world of technology in our mother tongue.Could you tell us about BAB Middle East - its inception, its success, and its ideology?BAB Middle East is a translation and copywriting company, founded by women, and operated by women to make communication easier for everyone. For us, it is a small world when we communicate with each other, and we aim at making it smaller and smaller with our new app and our endless determination to communicate.BAB Middle East recently launched a Mobile App to provide AI-powered translations, copywriting solutions, etc. Could you share some details about it and explain how it will make life easier for the users?We've made the conscious choice to embrace AI as a powerful learning tool. Instead of considering it a hindrance, we've chosen to turn it from a potential curse into a valuable blessing. Our approach is all about harnessing the machine's capabilities to provide our clients with cost-effective and swift content solutions, saving them both time and money.Our user-friendly mobile app simplifies the process: You upload your file, receive a cost estimate and a deadline, give your approval, and we take care of the rest. We offer a range of services, all enhanced by AI: AI-powered translations, perfected by human touch; Copywriting solutions, crafted by human creativity; Interpretation services, carried out by our skilled team; and proofreading tasks, meticulously completed by humans.At BAB Middle East, we maintain the perfect synergy between technology and the human touch. We're here to save time and money while delivering copies that are refined to perfection. Our app is not just a tool; it's your one-stop copy-shop for creative and cost-effective content.How is AI changing the business landscape in the Middle East? What are your predictions for its future in the region?The scene is very much different with AI, but this breakthrough will never replace the irreplaceable. It will never excel without the human touch. True art lies in harmonizing AI's capabilities with the depth of human insights. One needs to picture AI as a fledgling learner under our guidance. By embracing it as a collaborator, businesses will continue to streamline processes, elevate content, and ensure that the true driving force – human expertise – remains at the helm of success.What are your views on women leaders in the region? What progress have Middle Eastern nations made in terms of women's leadership?They lead by example, I get motivated every day seeing a new achievement signed by a woman here in, so I always feel the urge to compete, excel and shine.What are your future plans and growth projections for BAB Middle East?My goal is to transform the BAB Middle East App into the go-to copy-shop for anyone seeking cost-effective and creative content. Our mission is to facilitate effective communication, making the world a smaller place, and empowering more women to contribute to the betterment of our global community.

Drink Dry announces new partnership with TVM Collective

Drink Dry, one of the leading non-alcoholic beverage distributors in the GCC, has announced its newest partnership with the world’s leading alcohol-free bar group, The Virgin Mary (TVM) Collective. The exciting collaboration will see these two drinks powerhouses join forces to bring world-class alcohol-free cocktails to people across the Middle East. Strengthening their position in the market, Drink Dry is proud to be the leading importer and distributor of non-alcoholic drinks in both the UAE and KSA.In their quest for a regional distribution partner with the same ethos, Drink Dry was the perfect choice for TVM, with both brands being true pioneers in the sector with the same alignment when it comes to quality, alcohol-free products for the Middle Eastern market. With multiple venues in both the operating and planning phase, TVM is at the forefront of a socialising revolution that centres the social occasion for consumers around conviviality rather than alcohol. With Drink Dry at the helm of distribution operations across the Middle East, the partnership is a perfect match and will delight the growing category of non-alcoholic drinkers and sober curious consumers across the region.Erika Doyle, Founder of Drink Dry, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering exclusively with the esteemed TVM, bringing additional world-class products to the people of the GCC and further cementing the growth of the NoLo sector here in the region”. Providing consumers with even more quality choices, we are incredibly excited to showcase increased non-alcoholic drink options on menus across venues in the GCC.”Vaughan Yates, TVM Collective Founder and Co-Owner, said: “We are named after the world’s most popular alcohol-free cocktail – The Virgin Mary, and we pride ourselves in delivering an unparalleled flavour journey for our customers. That is why we are so pleased to be working with Drink Dry to bring a range of products to our venues in cities like Riyadh and Dubai, that will enhance the social experience for everyone who joins us.”“The Middle East is an incredibly diverse landscape with an increasingly discerning population, and we know people are looking for a place where they can sit down with friends and really connect in a lively yet mindful drinking environment. In partnership with Drink Dry, our TVM bar menus will feature a wide range of alcohol-free cocktails, beers, wines and more to ensure there’s always plenty to discover.”Under the moniker TVM, the group now has venues open in Diriyah Gate in Riyadh and Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, with several more operations coming on stream in the Middle East in 2024. Drink Dry is the preferred supplier of alcohol-free products for all the bars in TVM Collective’s Middle Eastern franchise operation.Are you ready to #DrinkDifferent?Find out more about Drink Dry by visiting their website and stay updated on their news and developments via their social media channel @drinkdrystore. Drink Dry delivers UAE-wide with free home delivery on purchases over AED 250. Place your order before 1:00pm and receive same-day delivery across Dubai.

Veeam shines spotlight on cyber resiliency at GITEX GLOBAL 2023

Dubai: Veeam Software, the leader in Data Protection and Ransomware Recovery, today announced its presence at GITEX GLOBAL 2023, taking place between 16 - 20 October at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The company’s participation this year is centered around the theme - ‘Cyber Resilience To Keep Your Business Running’.Mohamad Rizk, Regional Director, Middle East & CIS at Veeam Software said: “Digital transformation is important to every enterprise in the Middle East today. However, organizations are also facing the risk of increased cyberattacks, especially ransomware attacks. As per the Middle East and Africa edition of the Veeam 2023 Data Protection Trends Report, 86% of regional enterprises experienced at least one ransomware attack in 2022 and 79% of enterprises have a ‘Protection Gap’ between their tolerable data loss and how often IT protects their data. When your business is digital, protecting and recovering data is critical. Following the adage of, ‘When you modernize production, you must modernize protection’, data protection strategies must be equally inclusive of physical, virtual, and cloud-hosted workloads. In addition, to optimize their agility and flexibility, businesses should plan for workloads moving across clouds and even back on premises. A data protection strategy should accommodate that fluidity.”“As the #1 global provider of Data Replication & Protection software[i], we will use GITEX to showcase our latest innovations that help customers drive business efficiency and agility, protect data, and ensure organizations are well prepared and supported for the next stage of their digital transformation.”Veeam will demonstrate how it offers organizations radical resiliency through the Veeam Data Platform - a single platform that provides data security, data recovery and data freedom for hybrid cloud infrastructure including Cloud, Virtual, Physical, SaaS and Kubernetes environments. In this age of sophisticated and frequent cyberattacks, the Platform gives businesses peace of mind, knowing their apps and data are protected and always available to keep their businesses running.Trade attendees visiting the Veeam stand D-20, Hall 7 at GITEX can expect to learn more about the following innovations among others:Backup-as-a-Service (Baas) for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure: The company will unveil its latest launch at GITEX - Cirrus by Veeam, which is now available for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Azure customers. The solution provides a simple, flexible, reliable and powerful BaaS offering. It gives companies the option of simplifying the management and administration of their backup operations with all the resiliency of Veeam technology.Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365: Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 is the leader in Microsoft 365 backup and is being used to protect more than 15 million users. The product is being integrated with the newly launched Microsoft 365 Backup via their backup APIs to bring customers and partners new capabilities for backup, recovery, ransomware protection and business continuity.Kasten K10 V6: Kasten by Veeam is the most complete enterprise data management solution to date, purpose-built for Kubernetes. This latest release includes features that will help customers scale their cloud native data protection more efficiently, better protect their applications and data against ransomware attacks, and increase accessibility by adding new cloud native integrations.Veeam Data Platform: GITEX Trade visitors will be given a preview of for the New Veeam Data Platform 23H2 update, which includes new security and ransomware protection functionality for Veeam Backup & Replication, Veeam ONE and Veeam Recovery Orchestrator. The new release of the Veeam Data Platform delivers more advanced data security, malware detection, automated recovery, and hybrid cloud capabilities across the entire IT environment – Multi-Cloud, Virtual, Hybrid, Physical, SaaS (Microsoft 365, Salesforce) and Kubernetes.Veeam will also look to engage and enter into high level discussions with its ecosystem of channel partners at GITEX. Providing advice to the channel community, Kinda Baydoun, Manager of Channels, Distribution and Alliances - Middle East & CIS at Veeam commented: “We are in a region that is moving fast to embrace the latest technology and we are also witnessing nation-wide AI projects such as ‘Mall of the Metaverse’ - the first virtual shopping centre for customers who are seeking increased digital experiences across retail, entertainment and leisure offerings.”“The growth in digital transformation is delivering incredible benefits across the region but it also demands the right levels of data protection and recovery to ensure projects can be available. Our partners play a big role in helping customers by building skills and expertise around cloud, artificial intelligence and data security from consulting services all the way to professional and delivery services - and most importantly spread awareness about the importance of including data protection in their customer’s cyber preparedness strategy, as unfortunately most customers are dealing with data loss reactively,” she continued.Veeam will have its own dedicated booth in Hall 7 stand number D-20 at DWTC. The company will be joined on the stand by 4 sponsors - Red Hat, ExaGird, Alpha Data and BPS. Tim Pfaelzer, VP EMEA Sales and Amaury Dutilleul-Francoeur, VP EMEA Partner Network at Veeam will be at the event to meet with customers and partners.

100 experts and CEOs will highlight Dubai's AI achievements in January 2024

100 CEOs along with AI international experts are set to showcase Dubai's initiatives and strategies to integrate artificial intelligence technologies. This conference is slated for January 2024 in Dubai and is graciously patronized by H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum.Organized by Future 10X in partnership with Eventalist Events, the conference will take place at the Palazzo Versace Dubai from the 8th to the 9th of January 2024. The event will spotlight Dr. Rasmus Rothe, a distinguished AI scientist renowned across Germany and Europe.H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum, the honorary president of the event, voiced his belief that the conference will serve as a global stage to debate the significance of AI in amplifying Dubai's economic development.The event aims to spread technological understanding region-wide, implementing transparent strategies and welcoming both established and budding companies in the AI realm.Dr. Hikmat Beaini, the Chief Executive of the conference, underscored Dubai's vanguard position in AI technology evolution, its governance, and its multi-faceted impacts spanning the social, cultural, and economic dimensions.The conference promises an AI exhibition, interactive discussion sessions, and dedicated networking opportunities for CEOs to exchange insights on AI advancements. The event will also commend individuals and organizations pivotal in the AI sector's growth in Dubai.An estimated 2,000 attendees are anticipated, eager to explore cutting-edge applications and breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.The event will roll out 8 sessions that delve into: AI's role in academic and vocational education, advancements in healthcare, ethical considerations, regulatory norms governing tech across sectors, and the pivotal role of tech in cybersecurity. Subsequent sessions will explore AI's transformative influence on supply chain and logistics, enhancements in communication and transport sectors, augmenting consumer and client experiences, elevating human resource management, and optimizing talent acquisition strategies.

OMNES Media launches the digital "PR On Click" tool to manage PR tasks

As part of its ongoing efforts to empower businesses that connect brands with its PR teams and agencies, OMNES Media, the leading provider of, marketing and media solutions and services, has recently unveiled its latest innovative online communication and PR management tool, ‘PR on Click’.The ‘PR On Click’ is a comprehensive platform that to improve business systems and processes, ensuring the quality of business within the communication and public relations industry is at its highest efficiencies. PR On Click is a customizable tool designed to suit the business requirements of both the brand and media agencies.The platform provides unique features including management of the various work teams’ information and member tasks, as well as securing the customer data while archiving nature of the services provided to each of them. The tool has ac prelisted database of media, media professionals and suppliers and allows users to issue tracking tools, alerts, in addition to a business control system, and offers detailed reports on the performance of work teams, customers and services.Commenting on the launch, Fahed Aldeeb, CEO of OMNES Media, said: “At OMNES Media, we understand the importance of developing innovative tools to enhance business flow in this industry, and always strive to contribute to improving the efficiency and quality of public relations and corporate communication processes. Through our technological arm, OMNES Technology, we continue to provide cutting-edge digital solutions in the media, advertising and marketing landscapes."Aldeeb pointed out that investment in public relations tools is witnessing a remarkable growth at the global level, with a report issued by Statista expecting a 10% increase in the market size of public relations tools in 2023 to reach nearly $14.79 billion, compared to $13.4 billion in 2022. This annual growth is set to continue and exceed $ 29 billion by 2030.Aldeeb further noted that this increasing investment in the public relations industry is perfectly aligned with the growth the industry is witnessing, which is expected to record an increase of 6.6 percent in 2023 to reach almost $107 billion, compared to $100.4 billion in 2022. This annual growth rate is also expected to continue in the following years at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent to exceed $133 billion by 2027.

Quest Esports aims for greater global influence with appointment of Elie Gemayel

In a strategic move to enhance its global influence in the esports industry, Quest Esports today announced Elie Gemayel, the co-founder and driving force behind the company’s acclaimed Dota 2 initiatives, will take the reins as new CEO. The significant leadership change will be effective immediately.Gemayel, renowned as a Middle East esports visionary, has had an illustrious trajectory in the gaming world. Beginning his journey with a fervent passion for Dota 2 in 2004, he has been instrumental in nurturing regional talents and propelling them to the limelight in global tournaments. Under Gemayel’s stewardship, Quest Esports’ Dota 2 team has not only emerged as a top contender in international championships but has also qualified for “The International”, the world’s most prestigious esports tournament featuring a prize pool of US$20 million.As Quest Esports charts its course for the future under the dynamic leadership of Gemayel, it is propelled by a vision that extends far beyond gaming. The organization has set its sights on nurturing a holistic esports ecosystem in Qatar and the broader region, taking decisive steps to revolutionize the industry with innovative ventures, such as the construction of esports hotels. These establishments promise to be a haven for enthusiasts, offering immersive experiences that synergize luxury and gaming culture.In addition, Quest Esports is fostering education in the sector by developing comprehensive esports educational programs. Collaborations with tech pioneers in the educational landscape are in the advanced stages of planning, with the goal of birthing esports academies that will stand as a beacon of knowledge and skills development in the region, nurturing the next generation of esports talent.Under Gemayel’s aegis, Quest Esports is poised to deepen its roots in the region while branching out to set new benchmarks in the global esports panorama, fostering innovation, and paving the way for unprecedented growth in the industry.“We stand on the threshold of a transformative era for Quest Esports,” the company said in a written statement. “With Gemayel at the helm, wielding unmatched expertise and a forward-thinking approach, we foresee a horizon broadened further in the esports realm. Our core commitment is not only to evolve as a global entity, but to raise Qatar’s flag high in the esports community worldwide.”Gemayel, detailing his vision for the future, added: “This new chapter symbolizes our elevated ambition to enhance, expand, and exemplify. To our partners, we promise renewed vigor and excellence; to our dedicated team, a future brimming with limitless opportunities; and to the global gaming community, innovative experiences that will set new benchmarks."

Snapchat introduces reality lens for hearing-impaired people

Snapchat, in partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture, has launched an augmented reality lens to help improve interactive experiences for the hearing-impaired.The lens was launched at the Riyadh International Book Fair on Sept. 28 at the King Saud University in Riyadh.It utilizes machine learning technology, which allows the camera to accurately identify and interpret 28 distinct hand gestures from the Arabic alphabet used in Arabic Sign Language. The fair features a unique 3D technology display, encouraging attendees to participate in an interactive experience in which books spring to life through a selfie camera.The event also introduced a specially designed lens experience for children, aimed at promoting a passion for reading. The experience will take users on a hot air balloon ride, with the balloon designed in the shape of a book and featuring the message “Reading Uplifts You” alongside Riyadh Book Fair’s logo and branding.The lens marks a milestone for Snapchat as it is the first Arabic sign language lens ever introduced in the Middle East and North Africa region.Mohammed Hasan Alwan, CEO of the Literature, Publishing & Translation Commission, shared: “This year’s participation in the book fair is unique and innovative, as we are launching special services for the deaf community. We look forward to the impressive results of the augmented reality experiences at the exhibition, which align with our mission to promote cultural exchange and make literature more accessible to different segments of society through the positive impact on visitors.”Abdulla Alhammadi, Regional Business Lead for the Saudi market at Snap Inc., said: “AR can provide powerful opportunities to enhance learning, from educational guides to recipes and beyond. This is the greatest untapped opportunity for brands to become early adopters, further highlighting the growing interest in AR for educational purposes.”

Manaseer Group strengthens its EV lineup in partnership with W Motors

Manaseer Group has recently announced a strategic partnership with W Motors, the leading UAE developer and manufacturer of high-performance luxury sports cars, security vehicles and commercial EV’s in the Middle East. Through this partnership, Manaseer Group will become the exclusive importer for W Motors vehicles in Jordan and surrounding countries starting January 2024. The agreement was signed by Mr. Ziad Al Manaseer, Chairman and Group CEO of Manaseer Group, and Mr. Ralph Debbas, Founder and CEO of W Motors, during a signing ceremony held at the Group's headquarters.Through this agreement, Manaseer Group will offer W Motors vehicles in Jordan and the region by introducing a new brand that combines technology and outstanding performance. As the first phase of this partnership, the group will offer electric vehicles including vans and pick-up trucks in the market. Currently, Manaseer Group is preparing to showcase W Motors cars at both the Group’s showroom, located in its headquarters building, and at the Al-Adiyat showroom on Airport Road. The Group also has plans to commence car assembly by the end of next year, with manufacturing operations in Jordan expected to commence by the end of 2025.Commenting on this partnership, Mr. Ziad Al-Manaseer, Chairman and Group CEO of Manaseer Group, said: "We are proud to sign this new partnership with W Motors, a distinguished manufacturer of high-tech cars. We believe in our role in continuing to drive innovation and contribute to the significant expansion in the world of electric car technology, which aligns with our passion for introducing advanced vehicles and services that elevate the electric vehicle market in Jordan and the region." He added: "We continuously seek to invest in the latest technological developments, highlighting Jordan as a center for creativity and progress, in line with Jordan's Economic Modernization Vision and its vital pillars in economic growth, quality of life, and sustainability.”Mr. Ralph Debbas, Founder and CEO of W Motors, said: "Through this strategic collaboration with Manaseer Group, we will succeed together in changing the future of transportation in Jordan by covering a wider range of transportation needs. Together with our partners Manaseer Group, we will introduce electric pick-ups, vans and trucks in Jordan to be the first of their kind in the MENA region. We have a shared vision with the Group in exploring green energy solutions and encouraging their use, investing our efforts in adopting environmentally friendly vehicles for a more sustainable environment.”Founded in 2012, W Motors is the first manufacturer of high-performance luxury sports cars in the Middle East. Based in Dubai, the fully integrated company capabilities span automotive design, research & development, through to technology and engineering, as well as consultancy and manufacturing under the Special Projects Division.Manaseer Group is considered one of the leading companies in Jordan and the region since its establishment in 1999 in sectors such as fuel, mining, construction materials, automobiles, and other vital industries. As the largest private company in Jordan, the group provides employment opportunities for Jordanians and residents while delivering high-quality products across various industries. It contributes to creating a dynamic environment for innovation and sustainability, thus driving economic growth in Jordan. Additionally, the Group plays a significant role in social responsibility through numerous community initiatives and environmentally friendly practices. The Group has also been listed in Forbes "Top 100 Arab Family Companies" 2023 for the second consecutive year.

Cricket stars return: Boult, Pathan, Rayudu in Abu Dhabi T10 2023!

Ahead of the much-anticipated 2023 edition of cricket’s fastest format; Abu Dhabi T10, the Player’s Draft has been announced for Monday, October 9th, 2023, with the participating eight teams, Bangla Tigers, Chennai Braves, Deccan Gladiators, Delhi Bulls, Morrisville Samp Army, New York Strikers, Northern Warriors, and Team Abu Dhabi – also announcing their list of retained players and direct signings for the season.  The ‘23 edition of the season saw a registration of total 782 players from across the globe, including some of the biggest names in international cricket. Former Pakistan great, Shahid Afridi is among the list of Icon Stars who will be up for grabs on Monday, along with his compatriots Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal, and Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka.  The pre-signed players by the teams feature former Indian superstars Ambati Rayudu, and Yusuf Pathan. While Bangla Tigers roped in the explosive all-rounder Pathan, Delhi Bulls have signed on the ever-dynamic batter Rayudu.  Speaking on competing in the upcoming edition of Abu Dhabi T10, Pathan said, “The 10-over format is exciting and hence, I am always delighted to be a part of the league. My aim is to entertain the fans and help my team win the trophy this season.”  Among the retentions for the new season, the 2022 title winners Deccan Gladiators have kept hold of the powerhouse Nicholas Pooran. The left-handed batter was the leading run-scorer of the previous season as he smashed 345 runs in 10 games at an average of 49.29 and a whopping strike rate of 234.69. Pooran also smashed 25 sixes, the maximum by any player last season. Meanwhile, The Chennai Braves retained Captain Sikandar Raza, who has been a symbol of consistency over the years.  Raza said ahead of the players’ draft: “It is good to be back for another thrilling edition of Abu Dhabi T10. The tournament has become even fiercer now as players and franchises know what it takes to win. We will hope we can go all the way this year and lay our hands on the beautiful trophy.”Other strategic retentions and direct signingsFan favourite Pakistan pacer Hassan Ali has also been pre-signed by the Chennai Braves. The defending champions have also brought on kiwi speedster Trent Boult on board, while Morrisville Samp Army have roped in the services of former South Africa Captain Faf du Plessis, among other new names.The runners-up of last season, New York Strikers retained former West Indies Captain Kieron Pollard, while Morrisville Samp Army kept hold of Moeen Ali. Team Abu Dhabi have kept the game-changers Philip Salt and Alex Hales in their squad for season.Northern Warriors made a strategic move with retention of allrounder and T20 specialist Wanindu Hasaranga, while Bangla Tigers retained veteran Shakib al Hasan to bolster experience among their ranks. Delhi Bulls kept hold of dynamic Windies allrounder Dwayne Bravo, who will once again be a key player for them this season.  Abu Dhabi T10 2023, players draft on October 9                                                   England spinner Adil Rashid and Australia's fiery batsman Chris Lynn are among the players listed in the Platinum category for the player’s draft, along with Kusal Mendis, Liton Das, Mohammad Nabi, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz. The remaining players in the draft are divided across five other categories - Cat A, Cat B, Cat C, Emerging, and the UAE local players, who will be up for selection on Monday.  Speaking on the upcoming draft, Shaji Ul Mulk, Chairman, T10 Global, said, "The franchises have made their first moves with smart player retentions and direct signings. Some selections may come as a surprise, indicating the teams already have a few tricks up their sleeves, promising another high-octane draft day and an even more exciting edition of the Abu Dhabi T10.  Cricket's fastest format continues to grow each year and it has been our endeavour to present the most entertaining format of the sport possible for all our fans. This wouldn’t have been possible though, without the unwavering support of our partners at the Department of Culture & Tourism - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub and we thank them for joining us on this journey. I wish the 8 teams my best ahead of the 2023 Draft and the 2023 Abu Dhabi T10 season!”  Full List of Player Retentions and Pre-Signings:  Team Abu Dhabi:  Retained: Philip Salt (Icon), Tymal Mills (Cat A), Alex Hales (Cat B) Pre-Signings: Noor Ahmad (Asian Super Star), Kyle Mayers (Platinum)  Morrisville Samp Army:  Retained: Moeen Ali (Cat A), Maheesh Theekshana (Cat B), Basil Hameed (UAE-RES) Pre-Signings: Faf du Plessis (Icon), Jason Holder (Platinum), Dewald Bravis (Cat A)The Chennai Braves:  Retained: Obed McCoy (Cat A), Sikandar Raza (Cat B) Pre-Signings: Jason Roy (Icon), Charith Asalanka (Platinum), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Cat A), Hassan Ali (Asian Super Star)  New York Strikers:  Retained: Kieron Pollard (Icon), Sunil Narine (Platinum), Akeal Hosein (Cat B), Muhammad Waseem (UAE-RES) Pre-Signings: Mohammad Amir (Cat A)  Deccan Gladiators:  Retained: Nicholas Pooran (Icon), Andre Russell (Cat A), Tom Kohler-Cadmore (Cat B), Joshua Little (Cat C), Zahir Khan (UAE-RES) Pre-Signings: Trent Boult (Platinum)  Northern Warriors:  Retained: Wanindu Hasaranga (Icon), James Neesham (Platinum), Kennar Lewis (Cat C), Adam Hose (Cat C) Pre-Signings: Hazratullah Zazai (Cat A)  Bangla Tigers:  Retained: Shakib Al Hasan (Icon), Iftikhar Ahmed (Cat C), Matheesha Pathirana (Cat C), Rohan Mustafa (UAE-RES) Pre-Signings: Yusuf Pathan (Asian Super Star)  Delhi Bulls:  Retained: Dwayne Bravo (Cat A), Rilee Rossouw (Cat B), Fazalhaq Farooqi (Cat B) Pre-Signings: Quinton de Kock (Icon), Rovman Powell (Platinum), Ambati Rayudu (Asian Super Star)Fans can watch the 2023 Abu Dhabi T10 Player Draft Live on YouTube on the official channel:

NextWealth increases footprint through expanded global partnership with Jumio

NextWealth, a leading pure play data services provider in the country, announced an expansion of its strategic partnership with Jumio, the leading provider of automated, end-to-end identity proofing, risk assessment and compliance solutions. With this partnership, NextWealth will renew and expand its work to provide identity verification services for Jumio, allowing Jumio to continue accelerating its innovation in the arena of automated, technology-driven solutions. For NextWealth, this long-term partnership will help to add more centers in small towns in keeping with its purpose of generating local employment.NextWealth, with its proven track record of hiring and developing talent, and delivering enterprise-grade quality at scale, will enable Jumio to ensure seamless continuity of their global business and scale its operations securely. “Jumio’s mission to make the internet a safer place relies on the ongoing development of innovative fraud prevention solutions to thwart cybercriminals and their increasingly sophisticated tactics,”said Stuart Wells, Jumio CTO. “Partnering with NextWealth enables Jumio to focus on our core business and technology objectives and support our customers wherever they do business across the globe.”   “We are excited about expanding our partnership and supporting Jumio in its growth journey. The partnership between NextWealth and Jumio will further cement our position as one of the largest pure play, AI/ML-driven data services players in the country,” said Mythily Ramesh, NextWealth CEO. “NextWealth’s portfolio of digital solutions and service offerings will provide Jumio international- level quality, with the flexibility to manage business fluctuations in a secure business ecosystem. This will enable Jumio’s customers to have a smooth and seamless experience combined with the assurance of security and trust.”

As Gucci Ambassador, Alia Bhatt generates 3.8M$ EMV post Milan Fashion week

Alia Bhatt who was appointed the first Indian Global Ambassador of Gucci early this year, attended the Milan Fashion Week recently. This marks Alia's first appearance at the Milan Fashion Week, which saw its biggest season yet with an EMV of $215 million across platforms.As per a recent report, Indian superstar Alia Bhatt’s influence led to significant contributions from India, landing in the 10 top contributions worldwide. As per Karla Otto, a massive 3.8M$ EMV was generated by Alia Bhatt during her presence at the fashion week.Alia along with K-pop group ENHYPEN, Thai darling Win Metawin, and Pinoy fashionista Heart Evangelista racked up the highest media value during the cultural zeitgeist. She was also responsible for Milan Fashion Week’s overall top post — “Personal style but guccified ,” she wrote in the caption. The carousel of pictures amassed $1.1 million in MIV (Media Impact Value).

Changing Tree goes global, opens new office in Dubai

Changing Tree, a Bangalore-based creative and tech company, is thrilled to announce the opening of its new office in Dubai. This expansion marks a significant milestone in the company’s growth and underscores its commitment to serving the dynamic Middle Eastern market. The project embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration that Changing Tree is known for, showcasing its ability to seamlessly blend creativity and technology.One of the exciting initiatives introduced by Changing Tree that coincides with the Dubai office launch is the release of a series of intriguing videos. The initial Changing Tree launch video shows the city of Dubai turning blue. A masked man is seen riding a bike around the streets of Dubai as everything from crosswalks to traffic lights to vehicles on the roads—in fact, the entire cityscape—is awash in blue. The next video announces, ‘Change is Coming’, in the backdrop of the first video, thereby building up suspense for the reveal climax.The final reveal video shows Idrees, Founder-CEO of Changing Tree, introducing their newly set up Dubai office heralding the dawn of a new era and endless possibilities. With this new office, the agency now becomes 200-plus change-makers across Bangalore, Mumbai and Dubai. In this video, Idrees is heard saying, “We’re a creative and tech company… we deliver the transformation that brands need—whether in optimizing performance marketing, providing e-commerce solutions, or revamping branding and marketing strategies of organizations and for new product launches.” At the launch of the Dubai office Idrees said, “We’re thrilled to bring Changing Tree to Dubai and contribute to the vibrant tech and creative ecosystem of this city. Our team is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the digital world and, with the launch of this video, we aim to inspire and engage our audience with cutting-edge content that reflects our passion for innovation.”Changing Tree has built a reputation for innovation and creativity in the digital space and its presence in Dubai is poised to bring a fresh wave of creative and technological solution to the region. With a diverse portfolio of services that range from digital marketing to cutting-edge software development, Changing Tree is well-prepared to cater to the evolving needs of businesses in Dubai and the wider UAE.The opening of the Dubai office marks a strategic move for Changing Tree as it seeks to establish a strong presence in the Middle East and engage with local businesses, entrepreneurs and creative minds. With a team of talented professionals and a commitment to excellence.

McCann appoints Shannon Washington as Global Chief Creative Officer of Gotham

McCann Worldgroup, part of the Interpublic Group, has strengthened its creative leadership by appointing Shannon Washington as Global Chief Creative Officer of Gotham, the network’s global boutique creative agency. This marks her return to Gotham; she was a director of digital creative and strategy from 2012 to 2013. Maybelline New York has been her primary account, which Gotham still counts as a core client.Shannon will be bringing her fresh approach to creativity, which blends innovation, cultural storytelling and tech, to gotham's current clients, while working to expand the roster into complementary categories. She joins McCann from IPG sister agency R/GA, where she led creative work for clients like Sephora, Samsung and The Ad Council/Love Has No Labels. Moreover, she is Javier Campopiano’s first appointment since joining McCann Worldgroup as global CCO last month.Shannon will partner with Laurie Donlon, gotham’s president and CEO, to deliver the most culturally impactful and effective solutions for clients.  Sharing her happiness on Shannon Washington joining gotham, Laurie Donlon says: “The ability to activate the full potential for brands, to not only drive culture but to vastly improve it, makes her an unmatched talent in our industry and the exact right person to take gotham forward. ” Javier Campopiano, Global CCO, McCann Worldgroup, says: “Shannon has a pioneering spirit. Her approach to creativity blends innovation, tech, and cultural storytelling and it’s exactly what’s needed to drive growth for brands in today’s modern world. She is a true talent champion, empowering teams to find their voice and make amazing, award-winning and effective creative product.” Shannon Washington adds: “I am excited to return to Gotham and its team, the place where my journey in this industry truly began, and leverage the agency’s incredible track record in beauty, luxury and personal care with my love for technology and smart media to help brands in other categories grow by finding their rightful and impactful place in culture.”There are other major shifts in McCann’s creative leadership. The network hopes to “fuel creative excellence and enhance client focus.” McCann New York’s co-CEOs, Shayne Millington and Pierre Lipton, have both shifted to creative roles within the company.Millington will take on creative leadership at McCann New York as the shop’s chief creative officer, while Lipton will work across the company’s global brands as McCann Worldgroup’s global executive creative director.“It’s exciting to deepen the bench of creative leadership at McCann Worldgroup and put leaders in the best positions to create the most positive impact,” said Campopiano about the hires.

Get ready for a Halloween treat at C Central and Royal Central on The Palm

 It's that time of the year again when the ghosts and ghouls come out to play, and there's no better place to celebrate than at C Central Resort The Palm and Royal Central Hotel The Palm. This Halloween, prepare to be mesmerized by an unforgettable evening of spine-tingling surprises, mouthwatering delights, and spooky spectacles at Waves Restaurant and La Maison Restaurant.  On October 31st, 2023, dress in your spookiest attire and enter an enchanting world, where the air is filled with anticipation and eerie charm. The restaurant will be transformed into a thrilling spectacle, with cobwebs dangling from every corner, skeletons lurking in the shadows, and carved pumpkins lighting up the room. As you step into this bewitching atmosphere, be prepared to be amazed by the attention to detail that has gone into creating an otherworldly experience.  But it's not just about the spooky ambiance; it's also about the tantalizing treats that await guests. Indulge in a sumptuous Halloween-inspired menu, specially curated to delight the taste buds. From creepy cocktails to delectable dishes, the international cuisine buffet will leave you craving for more. Enjoy this hauntingly delicious feast at just Dhs199 with soft beverages or Dhs299 with house beverages.  What's more, the hotel staff will be joining in on the Halloween fun by dressing up in their scariest costumes, ranging from zombies and ghosts to werewolves. They'll be dressed to send shivers and ensure your night is nothing short of electrifying.  For the little goblins and those young at heart, both properties have a selection of spooky-themed treats that will leave them spellbound. It's a night of family-friendly frights, laughter, and memories that will last a lifetime.  Don't miss this thrilling Halloween extravaganza at C Central Resort The Palm and Royal Central Hotel The Palm. This Halloween promises to be a memorable, thrilling, and utterly enchanting experience that you won't want to miss!  For Wave Restaurant Reservations: please call 04 873 5500 or email  For La Maison Restaurant Reservation: please call 04 873 9300 or email   What: Join Us for a Spooktacular Halloween Where: Waves Restaurant at C Central Resort The Palm        La Maison Restaurant at Royal Central Hotel The Palm When: Tuesday, 31st October Timing: 7 pm until 10:30 pm Price: Dhs199 with soft beverages, Dhs299 with house beverages Offer: This Halloween, prepare to be thrilled as C Central Resort The Palm and Royal Central Hotel The Palm invite residents and guests to an unforgettable evening of ghoulish fun and eerie surprises at Waves Restaurant and La Maison Restaurant. Dress up in your spookiest costume and immerse yourself in a world of Halloween magic like never before.

Beyond: The great illusion show is coming to Dubai on October 28th

Prepare to be enchanted, Dubai! The world's first immersive illusionists' show, "Beyond," is set to mesmerize the city on October 28th at The Agenda in Dubai Media City. This unparalleled spectacle promises to be an unforgettable experience, one that promises to leave the audience spellbound and in awe. "Beyond" is not just a magic show; it's a journey into the realm of dreams and reality. Inspired by the acclaimed film "Now You See Me," the groundbreaking show features four master illusionists who will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.  Mike Berdnikov (The Mentalist) is the mastermind behind "Beyond: The Great Illusion Show." As the founder of the show, he has successfully united the most talented illusionists onto one stage, creating an extraordinary and unparalleled spectacle. Mike is renowned as a true master in the art of hypnosis. His most celebrated performances include the seemingly impossible act of walking on water. With 24 years of experience under his belt, Mike is a master of improvisation, never faltering in any trick.   Dmitry Polyakov’s (The Vanisher) charisma shines as he effortlessly engages the audience, involving them in the challenges he faces on stage. His forte lies in daring stunts and dramatic escapes, drawing inspiration from none other than the legendary Harry Houdini, renowned for his iconic straitjacket tricks. Dmitry's most audacious feat involved breaking free from a straitjacket secured with chains in a mere 2.5 minutes. His talents have graced the stage of "Central Asia Got Talent."  Alan Gladkovas (The Trendsetter) brings this unparalleled fusion of magic and fashion to the stage. Hailing from Lithuania, prepare to be swept away by his enchanting blend of magic and fashion. He's the embodiment of youthful creativity, adding a unique and fashionable twist to the world of magic that will leave guests both spellbound and stylishly inspired.  Mikhail Gutorov, known as "The Comedian," may not be a traditional stand-up comic, but his undeniable sense of humor is a delightful addition to his magical prowess. He weaves a unique tapestry of humor and enchantment that defies conventional labels. Mikhail achieved the title of a finalist in the prestigious Chinese competition, "Nanjing Got Talent." He's a master of the mystical and a true crowd-pleaser, promising an experience that will leave you in stitches and in awe of his extraordinary magical talents.  Beyond: The Great Illusion Show will captivate audiences in two languages, with performances in English from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM and a Russian show from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Ticket prices are AED250 for Silver, AED420 for Gold, AED670 for Platinum, AED980 for Platinum Box and AED1,450 for VIP. Exclusive booking is available now through Platinum List. "Dubai has been deliberately selected as the launchpad for 'Beyond,' serving as the ideal canvas to unveil this groundbreaking show to the world. The city's boundless innovation perfectly aligns with the vision of 'Beyond,' and we promise an enchanting experience that defies imagination. My advice? Clear your phone's memory because you'll be capturing a treasure trove of content. We're about to embark on a journey through time, so prepare for the extraordinary," shares Berdnikov. One of the unique aspects of "Beyond" is its circular stage, allowing the audience to view tricks from all angles. Drawing inspiration from the movie "Now You See Me," "Beyond" brings this concept to life in a digital show that encourages the audience to record, share, tag, and even broadcast live. The goal is to showcase the dexterity and transparency of the tricks, giving the audience an immersive and interactive experience. "'Beyond' goes beyond the realm of traditional magic shows, offering a unique fusion of death-defying stunts, captivating escapes, and mesmerizing hypnosis. It's an immersive experience where magic truly takes center stage, inviting our guests to become an integral part of this enchanting journey," adds Gladkovas. But there's more to "Beyond" than meets the eye. Guests have the opportunity to create a personalized experience. Whether you want to surprise your partner with a marriage proposal that will leave her flying in the air or celebrate a birthday with a magical twist, these creative options are available for booking. Don't miss your chance to delve into the mysteries of "Beyond" and prepare to be mesmerized by an experience unlike anything you've seen before. Kids under 12 years old get a 50% discount (except Silver, VIP and Platinum Box) while groups of 10 or more will have a 20% discount. Join us on October 28th at The Agenda in Dubai Media City for an evening that will challenge your perceptions and leave you spellbound. For enquiries and other information, please WhatsApp +971 58 165 1447, visit, or follow their Instagram @beyond__show.

Monster Jam set to roar back into Abu Dhabi in June 2024

Following this year’s rip-roaring success at a packed Etihad Arena, Monster Jam®, the world’s most action-packed motorsports experience, is bringing its unique blend of full-throttle family fun back to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi for a second consecutive year.Promising an adrenaline-fueled weekend of motorsport mayhem, a selection of 5,500kg monster trucks will scream back into the Etihad Arena for two shows on June 8 and a third show on June 9. Despite their staggering weight, the high-octane trucks will once again perform a host of daring stunts at astounding speeds that had attendees at last May’s shows hollering with excitement after each repertoire of flips, jumps, and tricks.Next year’s competition will see the sport’s top competitors come head-to-head in three divisions: Racing, two-wheeled skills, and freestyle. Mirroring the same format as this year’s edition, the performance is the ultimate family event with an exciting interactive element enabling fans to vote live after each stunt to help crown the show’s overall winner. As with this year, the event will also feature an incredible air-borne motocross performance and an exciting pre-show Pit Party to meet and greet the drivers and witness the massive trucks up-close. Tickets are available now at and platinumlist.netBrought to the region by Proactiv Entertainment – the leading producer and promoter of large-scale shows, international exhibitions and music concerts – and in partnership with Feld Motor Sports, the return of Monster Jam to Yas Island presents a new opportunity for thrill-seekers to experience the trucks up close as they skilfully race around the dirt track with a range of fearless stunts to collect points in the freestyle, skills, donut and racing divisions.Nicolas Renna, Chief Operating Officer at Proactiv Entertainment, leading international producer and promoter of large-scale events, said: “After witnessing a packed arena this year, bringing Monster Jam back to Abu Dhabi was a no-brainer. This year proved there’s such a massive appetite in the UAE for events of this nature, and if you missed out this year, we’re delighted to provide another opportunity to attend this next one – the experience is unmatched, and while the truck line-up for next year is yet to be announced, it’s probably my favourite one yet so be sure to watch this space!”Magnus Danielsson, Vice President of Motorsports for Feld Entertainment Inc., owner of Monster Jam, said “Monster Jam is a global premier experience which entertains and delights millions around the planet, bringing families of all ages together. We are excited to be bringing Monster Jam back to Abu Dhabi. The record numbers from last time around speak for themselves, and now we’re looking forward to exceeding them and putting on the biggest event so far! Monster Jam in Abu Dhabi is definitely a must-experience, and tickets will for sure be in high demand!”This year marked a historic moment when Monster Jam made its triumphant return to Abu Dhabi after nearly a decade. Following its roaring success, Yas Island’s Etihad Arena is ready to host the highly anticipated event once again in June 2024, reinforcing their commitment to bringing the world’s most sought-after global entertainment to residents and tourists.WHEN:Saturday, June 8 –1.00pm | Pit Party – 10.00amSaturday, June 8 –6.00pmSunday, June 9 –1.00 pm | Pit Party – 10.00amWHERE: Etihad Arena | Yas Island, Abu DhabiTICKETS:All tickets are available for purchase online at and www.platinumlist.netVIP – 645 AED (inclusive of show + Pit Party)Platinum – 485 AEDGold – 385 AEDSilver – 250 AEDBronze – 145 AEDAside from the VIP tickets which are all inclusive, all the other categories can access the Pit Party for an additional cost of Dh50. Fans buying family packs of four Gold or Silver tickets can avail a 15 per cent discount.For more info about the event follow Proactiv Entertainment’s social media channels: Facebook and Instagram.

Qatar Airways expands presence in Saudi with two new gateways

Qatar Airways, the World’s Best Airline, is proud to announce its expansion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with the launch of services of two new gateways: AlUla, Tabuk and the reopening of Yanbu. These additions to the airline's rapidly growing network mark a significant milestone in Qatar Airways' commitment to connecting travellers across the globe.Effective 29 October 2023, Qatar Airways will commence operations to AlUla, followed by Yanbu on 06 December 2023, and Tabuk on 14 December 2023. These new routes will offer passengers even more options to explore the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders of Saudi Arabia.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "We are thrilled to introduce AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk as our newest destinations in Saudi Arabia. These cities offer a wealth of cultural, historical, and natural experiences, and we are proud to connect travellers from around the world to these remarkable places."AlUla, known for its breath-taking landscapes and historical treasures, will be serviced with two weekly flights. Travelers can look forward to experiencing this UNESCO World Heritage Site's wonders, including the ancient rock formations and archaeological marvels.Yanbu, a vibrant port city, will be connected with three weekly flights. With its beautiful beaches and diverse marine life, Yanbu is the perfect destination for those seeking sun, sea and adventure.Tabuk, nestled amidst stunning mountains and valleys, will see Qatar Airways operate three weekly flights. Travelers to Tabuk will have the opportunity to explore its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.Qatar Airways now operates to nine cities in Saudi Arabia, operating more than 125 flights weekly. These cities include AlUla, Dammam, Gassim, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh, Tabuk, Taif, and Yanbu, providing travellers with a comprehensive network to explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of this dynamic country.Passengers in Saudi Arabia traveling from these exciting new gateways will enjoy seamless connectivity to over 160 destinations worldwide, including the China, Europe, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States. Qatar Airways continues to be a global leader in connecting travellers to some of the most sought-after destinations across the globe.Qatar Airways' new routes to AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk are expected to facilitate business and leisure travel, further strengthening economic ties and cultural exchanges between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The airline is dedicated to providing passengers with the highest level of service and comfort during their journeys.Tickets for flights to AlUla, Yanbu, and Tabuk are now available for booking through the Qatar Airways website, mobile app, and travel agencies.

Kevin Wright on crafting a twisty second season for the Marvel series

The last time viewers saw Loki—Marvel’s favorite anti-hero—it was during the first season finale of Disney+’s hit Marvel series, Loki. The God of Mischief was a bit out of sorts after jumping multiple universes and found himself running through the halls of the Time Variance Authority—the agency in charge of keeping the Multiverse in order.This Thursday, viewers will find themselves back in the TVA with Loki and Mobius as they try to figure out what is causing Loki’s Time Slipping—and what to do about the revelation that everyone in the TVA is a variant.Ever since appearing in 2011’s Thor, Loki—who is played by Tom Hiddleston—has lived many lives (literally), but throughout his journey he has been a fan favorite and a sly standout in the Marvel universe. To find out more about the joyfully twisty series, we spoke with Kevin Wright—the executive producer of Loki—about how Marvel Studios crafted an exciting season two.Owen Wilson and Tom Hiddleston in Marvel Studios’ Loki, Season 2, exclusively on Disney+.Loki was one of the most talked about Marvel series on Disney+ during its first season. What has you the most excited about season two?This is the great thing with long form storytelling. Once the world is set up, once the characters are introduced—which was our season one—and audiences are into it, it allows us to just go deeper. People get the TVA, they get time travel, they get the Multiverse. All this stuff is just weird concepts that we were like, ‘are audiences even going to go for it?’ and because they buy in, it just lets us go deeper with the character conflict and drama.And that’s what I’m most excited about because if you like Loki and Mobius in season one, you’re going to love them this season. If you like Loki and Sylvie, you’re going to like them even better because Tom and Sophia [Di Martino] are just at the top of their game. Everybody’s playing at the highest level, so it’s just exciting to dive deeper into a world that we know people are already excited about.Tom Hiddleston was a very active producer on this season as well as its star. Can you tell me what impact Tom had on the season away from just playing Loki?He’s the heart and soul of the show, behind the camera and in front of it. We started our conversations about what season two could be while we were finishing season one. We’re doing additional photography, and he and I were already talking about story structure, ideas, not wanting to just repeat what we were already doing. Tom will step aside, let the writers do their work, get these big ideas down, and then at a certain point he comes in and we start diving into those scripts. He’s like, ‘how do we make this tighter? How do we make this crazier?’ He is a presence, and it is always coming from a point of pure enthusiasm and joy for this character.I think he really takes his role as a steward of the Loki character seriously, and he always wants to elevate the series… Every step of the way, he’s a true producing partner.The marketing campaign for this season has been everywhere—especially the connection to McDonald’s. Does this show lend itself to fun, pop culture tie ins, and if so, how?Time travel is only as interesting as the worlds that you’re going to, so being able to go to places and play with nostalgia and live in something like a classic McDonald’s—which is a completely based off a nostalgic view of the past—was something that excited us… You want to be able to look at the past and experience it with a fresh modern lens. Easter eggs and tie-ins feel like a fun way to experience that. That McDonald’s logo is instant shorthand to people’s own past and nostalgic views. So sometimes just as a storytelling device, it’s incredibly helpful.Let’s talk about the costumes and production design. Why is it important for the series’ wardrobes and sets to have its own look and feel?When we set out to make the show, we prioritize the cinematography, the sets, the costumes, all of that, and it’s a thing that I think can sometimes be taken for granted. Our show—which is so sci-fi—can become dislodged from reality very quickly, so being able to ground it in tactile sets, have lived in costumes and everything feel real and be there helps ground it not only from a cinematic point of view, but for our actors.You’re reciting pages of sci-fi dialogue, but it all feels real because you’re in a real place. You’re in a real environment. Christine Wada—our costume designer—is world building with these TVA costumes and when we’re going to alien planets. So, to me, it just felt natural that if we are going to tell a fantastical story, we should find ways to ground it in reality, and that is through production design and costume design.The Marvel brand has been huge in pop culture. How does Loki as a character and Loki as a series play its part in this franchise and in this universe?I think he’s a reflection of our audience. Loki has been there since the beginning and as our audience has lived with our stories, seen all these different movies and now all these different shows, Loki has gone through so many different variations and story arcs.Our audience has kind of grown up with these stories and lived with it so long, so I think there’s a constant want and need for reinvention, keeping things fresh, keeping things interesting and telling more in-depth and dramatic stories. Loki has been sort of the lens that we’ve been able to do that with over all these years working with Tom. So, just as Marvel has evolved in the culture, Loki has been able to evolve within our own storytelling.

FORMULA 1 Saudi Grand Prix and XP Music Join Forces for XPerform Contest

Music, talent, and speed are set to unite, as the FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX announces an electrifying collaboration with XP Music Futures for this year’s XPERFORM vocalist contest. This monumental three-year partnership will provide contestants with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take to the world stage with a live performance at the upcoming Formula 1 race weekend in Jeddah in March 2024. Earlier this year XPERFORM announced its collaboration with YouTube to support Saudi Arabia’s music industry. As part of the collaboration, YouTube ran a bootcamp to help artists reach a wider audience using YouTube’s multiple formats.This year’s auditions for XPERFORM, held live at the Music Hub in Riyadh, have set a new standard for music competitions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The event exceeded all expectations, showcasing an incredible array of talent and representing musical genres from across the spectrum, culminating in a true celebration of the rich musical and cultural tapestry seen throughout the region. A distinguished panel of judges, including Moe Hamzeh, Karima Damir, Banah Anabtawi, Lil Eazy, and Liliana Abudalo, provided valuable feedback and constructive critiques, lifting performers to unforeseen heights before ultimately narrowing the field of contestants down to 12.XPERFORM is among a range of initiatives by XP Music Futures to pull back the curtain and bolster the emerging talent of tomorrow. The conference is also unveiling HUNNA (the Arabic plural of "she"), a one-on-one mentorship program for women, by women. Set to cover everything from music management and artistry to the nuances of production and the music business itself, this year sees an XP Music Futures that is dead set on giving the next generation of talent the tools they need to succeed.Martin Whitaker, CEO of the Saudi Motorsport Company – Promoter of the FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX - commented: “We are honoured to be partnering with XP Music Futures on this very exciting initiative to source and promote some of the finest young talents in the region. The XPERFORM mission to uncover the region's emerging vocal talent aligns perfectly with our own commitment to using the power of F1 to motivate our youth to follow their dreams. Our previous three F1 race weekends have shown how racing and live music dovetail into a beautiful package of adrenaline-fueled action and entertainment, serving to inspire the people of the Kingdom to achieve their full potential. We look forward to partnering and supporting XP Music Futures on this journey and are excited to welcome the successful entrants on stage next March during the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2024.”Ramadan Alharatani, CEO at MDLBEAST and XP Music Futures - says: “At MDLBEAST - and through XP Music Futures - we’re dedicated to creating opportunities for artists as we continue to accelerate the development of the music scene in our region. We’re proud to unveil this powerful initiative with The Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix1 to provide another stage for incredibly talented artists. We’d like to thank The Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for supporting our mission in uncovering the unseen to the rest of the world, and for joining forces to inspire future generations as we lay the groundwork for establishing a thriving music ecosystem in the MENA region.”This partnership comes months ahead of this year’s XP Music Futures, which is set to take place in Riyadh from December 7 to 9. Tickets for the 3-day event are available now but are poised to sell out in the coming weeks. To grab your tickets and find more information, visit XP Music Futures’ official website.

GMG expands into Southeast Asia with new Singapore corporate office

GMG, a global well-being company operating leading brands across sports, everyday goods, health and beauty, properties, and logistics sectors, has marked a significant milestone in the company's expansion strategy in Southeast Asia with its first office in Singapore. GMG has already opened 31 stores across Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia since entering the SEA market in 2020. Currently, GMG has 16 stores under its operation in Singapore and aims to open more by next year especially 2 more of its home-grown brand Sun & Sand Sports (SSS). In May this year, SSS, a GMG flagship brand, and the Middle East’s largest sports retailer, established its presence in Southeast Asia (SEA) through its first store in Singapore. The company plans to open 11 SSS stores across the Southeast Asian market, including Singapore and Malaysia, in the next 36 months. This expansion aligns with GMG's overall business strategy to capitalize on the Asian market's potential and to establish a strong presence for the sports retail sector in key international markets. GMG's commitment to creating a fun and engaging customer experience remains at the forefront of its efforts. GMG's CEO, Mohammad A. Baker, stated, "Asia has become the world's consumption growth engine, and through our Singapore office, we aim to bring added value and best-in-class products and services to our customers in this region. The opening of this office symbolizes our commitment to delivering unparalleled experiences and services to customers in Southeast Asia, setting new industry standards and pushing the boundaries."As part of its ambitious growth plans in Southeast Asia, GMG aims to open 100 new stores by 2025. Additionally, the company plans to grow its workforce by over 40% by the end of this fiscal year, achieved through proactive recruitment of local talent to support strategic growth markets.“The region is currently experiencing rapid growth, driven by its young demographics, increasing spending power, and digitally savvy consumers. In particular, the sports and outdoor segment is projected to reach US$38.75 billion in 2023, according to Statista. The new office will serve as a hub for GMG's operations in Southeast Asia, facilitating strategic initiatives and collaborations in the region,” said Carl Masterman, President – Sports at GMG.In December 2020, GMG acquired RSH, one of Southeast Asia's largest multi-brand sports retailers, establishing its footprint strategically in international markets with a potential customer base of up to 700 million people.The GMG Sports division comprises a diversified portfolio of homegrown concepts and international powerhouse brands such as Nike, Columbia, Jordan, The North Face, Timberland, Vans, and more. GMG Sports’ successful homegrown concepts include Sun & Sand Sports, Dropkick, Nu Athlete, Pedaliere, and Basketbolista.

Knight Frank taps Mohamed Nabil as Head of Projects & Development Services, MENA

Global real estate consultancy Knight Frank has appointed Mohamed Nabil as the Head of Projects & Development Services for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With over 23 years of experience in the MENA real estate market and a track record of success in project management and development, Nabil joins Knight Frank, reinforcing the firm's commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions to clients in the region.Armed with wealth of experience, Nabil's credentials include being a Certified Project Manager (PMP) and a LEED Accredited Professional. His industry expertise spans diverse sectors, including High Rise, Residential, Commercial, Hospitality, Healthcare, Educational, Governmental, Sports, Science and Technology, Banking, and Retail, encompassing both construction and fit-out projects.With a rich industry background, he has garnered significant experience in key markets such as the UAE, KSA, and Egypt, further cementing his reputation as a seasoned professional with a keen understanding of the industry's intricacies.Expressing his sentiment, Nabil says: "I am incredibly thrilled about the opportunity to join Knight Frank as the Head of P&DS MENA. With my broad experience in the Middle East, I am eager to break new ground in the thriving real estate markets of KSA, UAE, and Egypt. Knight Frank's renowned name and outstanding corporate culture resonate deeply with my professional aspirations. With the company's support and resources, I am confident in my ability to propel Knight Frank to the forefront of the industry as one of the top PMCM (Project Management and Construction Management) Real Estate consultancy firms in the region.”Prior to joining Knight Frank, Nabil played a pivotal role in establishing and leading the Projects & Development Services division for JLL in Egypt for a decade. Throughout his career, Nabil has garnered experience working with top, global multinational firms such as HDR INC where he spearheaded and developed large teams, overseeing projects on a grand scale.James Lewis, Managing Director of Knight Frank MENA, warmly welcomes Nabil to the team, stating: “Nabil's caring and driven leadership, combined with Knight Frank's global reputation will position us well in this market segment. We're excited to have him on board, especially as we expand into new territories like Egypt. His extensive experience in the MENA region will guide in tailoring our services to deliver for clients".

PIF, Saudi Electricity Company launch electric vehicle infrastructure company

The Public Investment Fund (PIF) and Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) announced today the launch of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company (the “Company”). PIF will own a 75% stake in the Company, while SEC will hold the remaining 25% stake.The Company aims to deliver best-in-class electric vehicle (EV) fast-charging infrastructure across Saudi Arabia, further unlocking the local automotive ecosystem and accelerating the adoption of EVs. It plans to establish presence in more than 1,000 locations, installing over 5,000 fast chargers by 2030 in cities across Saudi Arabia and on the roads that connect them, in line with applicable regulations and standards.The Company aims to enhance Saudi Arabia’s automotive ecosystem, through collaboration with EV companies, by supplying the necessary charging stations to meet future demand. It also aims to promote private sector participation in the development of its network of charging stations and support the localization of R&D and manufacturing of technologically advanced materials, ultimately building domestic expertise and resilience.Omar Al-Madhi, Co-Head of MENA Direct Investments at PIF, said: “The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company will spearhead the EV transition by deploying best-in-class, widely available EV charging infrastructure to drive the growth of the EV ecosystem. Through our partnership with SEC, we will be able to accelerate the creation of synergies across the EV supply chain, driving economic growth and diversification in line with Vision 2030, and positioning Saudi Arabia as a leader in the new electrified era of the automotive industry.”Khalid Bin Hamad Al-Gnoon, Chief Executive Officer at SEC, said: “SEC, as part of the nation’s wider energy ecosystem, develops and implements strategies that aim to enhance Saudi Arabia’s position as a sustainable energy leader, in line with the Kingdom’s efforts to promote advanced energy solutions and increase the value added by the energy sector.”The launch of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Company is in line with PIF’s strategy to expand Saudi Arabia’s automotive capabilities to promote the country’s competitiveness on the world stage, and ultimately position it as a global leader. It will aim to further Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification efforts, driving non-oil GDP growth and creating new jobs.

Dubai Press Club and MBRU seek to boost media coverage of health issues

The Dubai Press Club (DPC), in partnership with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), organised a training programme titled ‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ focused on raising the capabilities of media professionals to cover healthcare-related topics. The initiative forms part of DPC’s ‘Advanced Journalism Program’ aimed at enhancing professional benchmarks in Arab media.Representing a synergistic partnership between the media and health sectors, the initiative is part of broader efforts to integrate high-quality specialised health coverage into mainstream media. The new programme was aimed at making journalists aware of the latest healthcare issues and providing them with the tools and frameworks needed to convey information regarding public health crises and pandemics accurately and responsibly.Dr. Maitha Buhumaid, Director of the Dubai Press Club, said: “Amidst the rapid transformations happening in the UAE and across the globe, this initiative was designed to enable journalists to keep pace with the emerging wave of developments in the health sector and beyond. With the rapidly evolving nature of healthcare, there is an urgent need for journalists to stay abreast of changing approaches to public health management and the vast new innovation and research in this vital sector. Guided by the vision of the UAE's leadership, we seek to work closely with various partners to raise the media’s expertise in addressing health challenges. In collaboration with MBRU, we created a set of training modules to raise journalists’ understanding of today’s healthcare landscape. Our goal is not only to enhance the depth of health coverage in the media but also inculcate a proactive mindset amongst media professionals and raise our community’s broader awareness and vigilance to deal with any future pandemics.”The organisation of the ‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ programme is a testament to the close partnership between the media and healthcare sectors in Dubai to enhance coverage of health issues. The various components of the programme were structured to help media report on health issues with precision and insight. The four-day programme held at the Dubai Press Club sought to help journalists understand contemporary medical terms, interpret health data correctly and communicate statistics effectively.Dr. Amer Sharif, CEO of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation and President of the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU), said: “Our commitment to academic excellence and evidence-based healthcare journalism lies at the core of this programme. By equipping journalists with the essential principles of health sciences, we seek to provide them with the tools to navigate the complexities of this critical and transformative field. We extend our appreciation to all participants who joined us in this programme for recognising that it is our shared responsibility to safeguard the accuracy of healthcare reporting. We would also like to thank the Dubai Press Club for their partnership, invaluable contributions and support for the programme. Together, we can propel healthcare journalism towards a future where it plays a key role in creating a healthier, more informed society.”Through training sessions, immersive workshops and assessments, the programme taught participants to track and analyse health-related data, especially in times of health crises. Another key objective of the programme was to combat the potential ripple effects of misinformation resulting from a fragmented understanding of health issues.Building upon the previous outcomes of the ‘Advanced Journalism Program’ introduced in 2017, the latest specialised training is part of the Dubai Press Club’s commitment to raise professional standards in the media’s coverage of diverse sectors including politics, economics, culture and science. Significant previous initiatives undertaken by DPC as part of the ‘Advanced Journalism Program’ include the ‘Science Journalist Program’, organised in 2017 in collaboration with the Emirates Scientists Council and the ‘Advanced Economic Journalism’ programme held in 2018, with the support of DP World and delivered in collaboration with global media organisations including CNN, CNBC, Reuters, Bloomberg, AFP, Sky News Arabia and Murdoch University.‘Introduction to Health Science for Journalists’ sought to provide journalists with the wider knowledge base needed to enhance their health reportage. Apart from foundational health principles, the session covered specialised topics such as anatomy, epidemiology, healthcare systems, medical research, clinical trials and clinical ethics.As part of efforts to further enrich their knowledge, resources and research capabilities, participants in the training programme were given a one-year membership to the Al Maktoum Medical Library at MBRU. The participants were also presented with certificates that acknowledge the proficiency they gained during the programme.

UAE tops overall Jiu-Jitsu rankings at 19th Asian Games

The UAE Jiu-Jitsu National Team has made historic achievements at the 19th Asian Games. The nation’s overall Jiu-Jitsu medal count at the Asian Games 2023 stands at 10 medals, including four gold, three silver, and three bronze. In 2018, the UAE won a total of 9 medals, including 2 gold, 5 silver, and 2 bronze. The team’s participation in the competition was sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company.On Saturday, the final day of the Jiu-Jitsu competitions in Hangzhou, Faisal Al Ketbi and Shamma Al Kalbani claimed gold in their respective categories during the competitions held at Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI. Balqees Al Hashemi, Mohammed Al Suwaidi and Khaled Al Balooshi won silver medals, while Shamsa Al Ameri, Mahdi Al Olaqi and Saeed Al Kubaisi earned bronze.His Highness Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the UAE National Olympic Committee (NOC), congratulated the Jiu-Jitsu National Team for their historic achievement. His Highness also commended the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s efforts in promoting the sport and creating heroes and heroines who represent the nation in the best way in all sporting events.His Excellency Abdel Moneim Al Hashemi, Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, President of the Asian Jiu-Jitsu Union, and Senior Vice President of the International Jiu-Jitsu Federation, also congratulated the UAE delegation on their great achievement, as he extended the highest expressions of thanks and gratitude for the UAE leadership for their constant support for the sport of Jiu-Jitsu in the country.“I want to appreciate the champions and their families because they made many sacrifices to reach this achievement, and we must know that 4 gold medals out of 10 colored medals did not come from nowhere but are the result of great support from the wise leadership and limitless sacrifices from coaches and players over many years, in camps, tournaments, and training.”His Excellency also extended his gratitude to the National Olympic Committee: “Jiu-litsu provides a successful model and a distinctive experience for UAE sports, as it trusted the sons and daughters of the country, gave them opportunities and support, and is now reaping the fruits.”His Excellency Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAEJJF and head of the UAE delegation to the Asian Games, lauded the team, describing them as a 5-star team. He emphasised that the technical staff and players had a clear vision and a deep understanding of the magnitude of their responsibilities. Al Dhaheri also highlighted the remarkable strength and techniques displayed by Emirati players, notably Asma Al Hosani, Shama Al Kalbani, Balqis Al Hashemi, and Shamsa Al Ameri, especially in the face of fierce competition where results remained uncertain until the final moments.Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the UAE and Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federations, underlined the strong support from the Asian Federation and the Olympic Council of Asia. He noted the participation of officials from 28 countries and 10 medal-winning nations, underscoring the sport’s global development and strength. Jiu-Jitsu is thriving in countries such as South Korea, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Thailand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Mongolia, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. He also expressed appreciation for China’s exceptional organization and successful hosting.In the Men’s -85Kg Final, Faisal Al Ketbi demonstrated his prowess, defeating the Republic of Korea’s Heeseoung Kim by an advantage. This victory marked Al Ketbi’s second gold at the Asian Games, with his first gold achieved in Jakarta in 2018. In the same weight division, the UAE’s Saeed Al Kubaisi secured a bronze medal by defeating Sagdeev Ruslan of Kyrgyzstan in his final match of the day, further bolstering the UAE’s impressive performance.Al Ketbi dedicated the medal to the wise leadership of the UAE. “The country that flew into space and reached the top in many fields deserves to be at the forefront in sports. I am confident that my teammates in the National Team, from the new generations, are capable of continuing their achievements in all categories, boys and girls.”In the Women’s -63Kg Final, Shamma Al Kalbani showcased her exceptional skills by defeating Kira Sung of the Republic of Korea. She secured victory by points. “I was ready to compete for gold in that tournament as of last year, as it was scheduled to be held in 2022, but postponing it for a year gave me a greater opportunity to prepare perfectly, and the Federation, spared no effort in providing us with full support from camps, and internal and external tournaments that brought us to the top of the technical, physical, and mental levels before entering the tournament atmosphere,” Al Kalbani said.

Amazon Saudi hosts Annual Seller Summit

Riyadh:  Amazon Saudi Arabia recently hosted its annual Seller Summit in Riyadh, showcasing a suite of cutting-edge tools and services designed to empower small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in Saudi Arabia. These innovations are tailored to help SMBs reach millions of online customers and drive accelerated business growth, just in time for the busy end-of-year shopping season, with the White Friday sale, the biggest sale of the year on, around the corner.The event brought together hundreds of Saudi sellers for immersive master classes to test and explore Amazon’s diverse solutions that simplify the selling partner journey from product listing, advertising and brand building, to shipping and fulfillment. To further accelerate the growth of local sellers, Amazon showcased its enhanced Arabic mobile seller app, making it more accessible and convenient for local businesses to manage their online stores from anywhere, in their language of choice.Participants at the Saudi Seller Summit heard directly from senior leaders and subject matter experts about leveraging Amazon’s latest capabilities to reach more customers, meet growth goals and drive success.Ronaldo Mouchawar, Vice President of Amazon Middle East and North Africa said, “At Amazon, our selling partners are a fundamental part of our customer-centric model, helping us offer what customers want – vast selection of millions of products across over 30 categories, at great prices. We also recognize the contribution of local businesses and SMBs to a country’s economic growth, diversification and job creation. Our annual Saudi Seller Summit delivers tailored solutions that address the needs of Saudi sellers, who are eager to be a part of the Kingdom’s Vision towards a digital economy.”The Saudi Seller Summit celebrated the growth and success of sixteen independent selling partners who excelled over the past year. Award winners were recognized for their performance related to customer satisfaction, delivery speed, and use of Amazon seller tools, among other categories.Karim Ghandour, Head of Marketplace for Amazon Saudi Arabia said, “We continue to work closely with our local selling partners to empower them for success through operational and strategic recommendations leveraging our local market expertise. The Saudi Seller Summit is organized every year ahead of the White Friday sale to ensure our selling partners are equipped to maximize their success such as boosting sales and acquiring new customers, during Saudi Arabia’s busiest shopping season. Our end-to-end advertising, brand-building and account management tools, supported by our shipping and fulfillment capabilities make it easier for our selling partners to reach millions of customers on addition to learning from Amazon experts, Saudi Arabia’s SMBs also had the opportunity to network among peers, exchange knowledge and share success stories.Nabegh Alzaiter, an independent selling partner on said, "I look forward to Amazon’s Seller Summit every year not only to hear from Amazon, but also to connect with the Saudi seller community and celebrate our collective success. Moreover, the solutions that are showcased each year demonstrate just how closely Amazon is listening to its selling partners and how committed the company is to solving for our unique challenges."Since the launch of in 2020, the company has continued to invest in Saudi Arabia’s growing SMB sector, providing logistics support, tools, services, programs, and teams to help sellers get started, build their brands, and leverage Amazon’s scale to reach more customers. This year, the company launched Global Registration, a service that opens doors for Saudi sellers, connecting them with hundreds of millions of customers worldwide through a single registration, expanding horizons and boosting revenue potential. Globally, Amazon continues to work with millions of sellers as they continue to be an integral part of the customer offering.

World Gold Council unveils documentary on the most precious metal

The World Gold Council has announced the release of a new   documentary: GOLD: A Journey with Idris Elba, created in partnership with Pioneer Productions.Immersed in adventure, Idris Elba (Luther, Beast of Nations, Hijack) explores the mysteries, stories and untold human relationship with our most precious metal: gold. As his journey unfolds, we're taken around the globe as he conquers his claustrophobia down Canadian mine shafts, explores his heritage in Ghana and delves into the journey to responsible mining in South Africa.From the 1800s Gold Rush stimulating early demand for Levi’s jeans, to the recent production of a $1M gold bar in Canada and the quest for the new gold seams in Peru; Elba uncovers the unique moments and milestones that bring the human story and socio-economic impact of gold to life.Gold: A Journey explores the value of gold past, present and future, while discovering its powers of transformation on individuals, communities and economies. It also highlights how the industry is navigating current challenges, from post-mining regeneration and energy consumption to the future of the workforce in gold mining.Idris Elba said: “I feel very thankful to have been able to experience what gold means to people, what gold means to history and also to tradition. Gold has the power to transform. I’ve learnt so much about gold that wasn’t obvious or expected and now my eyes have been opened which is a wonderful thing.”David Tait, Chief Executive Officer, World Gold Council, said: “Gold has a positive impact across the lives of individuals, communities and economies, with much of the story to date left to imagination. On behalf of our members and the industry, we are delighted to bring the human stories of gold to life for the first time, working with Idris Elba to explore the value and evolution of gold.”The documentary was commissioned to support the World Gold Council in its ambition to help the world understand the value of gold and harness its transformative power.The documentary is now available on YouTube.

NBA brand ambassador & superstar Ranveer Singh meets Mark Cuban & others at NBA

 Bollywood superstar and NBA Brand Ambassador form India Ranveer Singh was seen at the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 for the second consecutive year. A true fan of basketball and the NBA, Ranveer’s energy and passion could be seen both on and off court.  Last year around, Ranveer was seen teaching Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shaquille O'Neal and Trae Young his signature dance moves and bhangra at the games and this year we’re not surprised to see him groove to some desi beats with Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns. He also had his fan-boy moment when he was gifted a signed jersey by Minnesota Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert.  Ranveer was seen in conversation with owner of the Dallas Mavericks, renowned businessman, and fellow Indiana University alumnus Mark Cuban. In addition, Ranveer shared candid moments with renowned actor Michael B. Jordan, former Italian footballer Alessandro Del Piero, NBA Hall of Famer and 2x NBA Champion Ray Allen and 4x NBA All-Star and 3x All-NBA First Team member Luka Doncic, among others. Safe to say, Ranveer sure had a ‘ball’ at the Abu Dhabi Games 2023.  As for the exciting on-court action, Timberwolves topped Mavericks 111-99 in the preseason opener game 1. Game 2 will be broadcast on Saturday, Oct. 7, on JioCinema & Sports18 – 1HD at 9:30PM IST. Stay tuned!

‘Golden Glory’: Asma Alhosani wins UAE’s second Asian Games gold in jiu-jitsu

UAE’s Asma Alhosani made history on Friday as the country’s first woman to secure a gold medal in martial arts at the Asian Games. On the second day of the jiu-jitsu competitions at the 19th edition of the Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China, the UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Team secured three more medals, comprising one gold and two bronze, during the competitions at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium (JJI). Friday’s competitions showcased the outstanding performance of two Emirati women athletes. Asma Alhosani emerged as the standout athlete, clinching the gold medal – the third gold overall for the UAE in Hangzhou. Joining her on the podium, Shamsa Alameri and Mahdi Alawlaqi secured bronze medals, marking a successful day for the UAE delegation. With one more day remaining until the conclusion of the jiu-jitsu competitions, the National Jiu-Jitsu Team, sponsored by the Mubadala Investment Company, now boasts an impressive total of seven medals, including two gold, three silver, and two bronze.  The UAE delegation to China received congratulations from the Kazakh Minister of Youth and Sports, Yermik Marzhikbayev, who praised the UAE for its role in promoting sports. His Excellency Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Head of the UAE delegation to China, extended an invitation to the Minister to attend the 15th edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, scheduled to take place in Abu Dhabi from November 1 to 10 at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City. In the Women’s Jiu-Jitsu -52Kg final, Asma Alhosani prevailed over China’s Jie Miao, winning by points. “I have been preparing for this moment for 4 years, and I was confident of achieving this milestone because when an Emirati girl receives the opportunity and support, she achieves her goals, no matter how challenging they may be. It was the proudest moment of my life when the UAE flag was raised today in China while the UAE national anthem played.” “We were exhausted, training day and night, participating in camps and tournaments, all in pursuit of this historic moment. When I stood on the podium, all the fatigue faded away because I felt immensely proud to give back to our homeland.” Talking about Asma’s performance today, Marina Ribeiro, the coach of the UAE National Women’s Team, said, “Asma was subjected to tremendous pressure, especially in the final fight with the Chinese champion, who has extensive experience and is over 30 years old, as well as the Chinese audience, who filled the stands with encouragement. Asma did not waver or lose focus and remained at the highest levels of competence until she emerged victorious.”  In the Women -57 kg contest for the bronze medal, Shamsa Alameri defeated Yasmine Alami of Jordan. Shamsa noted that she spared no effort in the fights and that she had hoped to achieve gold to present as a gift to her beloved homeland, benefiting greatly from the experience. Meanwhile, Faisal Al-Ketbi, Saeed Al-Kubaisi, Shamma Al-Kalbani, and Mahra Mahfouz, who are set to participate in tomorrow’s competitions, have successfully passed the official weigh-in procedures today.

Magnite Unveils New Demand Manager Feature Powered by Machine Learning

Magnite , the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising company, today introduced machine learning driven recommendations for A/B testing within its Demand Manager product. Built on Prebid technology, Demand Manager empowers leading publishers with the tools, insights, and connections to grow revenue across the ever-changing marketplace of ad exchanges, formats, and vendors. This launch marks the introduction of sophisticated machine learning algorithms packaged with existing industry-leading capabilities for publishers to manage their Prebid stack.The new feature utilizes machine learning to provide automated Prebid optimization recommendations based on Prebid and ad server auction data and session data, with the goal of revenue lift. Publishers can now activate machine generated settings into an A/B test with a single click. Initial tests showed that 80% of wrappers that ran a machine-generated experiment saw an increase in revenue compared to the existing setting.“Publishers are confronted with a seemingly endless number of daily choices that materially impact revenue. We developed this new feature to eliminate Prebid optimization guesswork while still giving publishers full control,” said Matt Tengler, VP of Product at Magnite. “Infusing A/B testing with machine learning makes it easy for publishers to measure revenue and page performance improvements. This continues to bring publishers innovative tools that focus on revenue and efficiency at the same time.”“We were excited to test this new Demand Manager feature to see how machine learning could improve our wrapper configurations,” said Ben Elshaw, Director of Operations at LADbible. “We were pleased to see a material rCPM increase following the implementation of the optimization recommendations. Demand Manager’s A/B testing functionality combined with machine learning recommendations is a welcome innovation that we hope to see expand in the future.”“After using Demand Manager’s new machine learning-driven recommendations for wrapper optimization, we were pleased to see an immediate increase in revenue,” said Lewis Lee, Senior Ad Tech Specialist at REA. “The A/B testing capabilities allow us to customize our wrapper configurations based on data and quickly test more scenarios while minimizing risk. We look forward to testing additional features that utilize machine learning to help us improve our Prebid settings.”

Crime, Sci-Fi and Comedy dominate 2023’s global streaming bill of $42bn

The major global streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, Paramount+ and Max/HBO Max) will invest $42bn in original and acquired film and TV content this year, the latest Ampere Analysis forecasts suggest. This marks a slower rate of growth of 7% year-on-year, compared to the 24% growth in streaming spending witnessed in 2022. High-budget Originals in key scripted genres including Crime & Thriller, Sci-Fi & Fantasy and Comedy continue to be the primary drivers of growth. However, in light of intense competition and the influence of macroeconomic factors, SVoD platforms will prioritise cost management and effective content acquisitions to thrive in 2024 and beyond. Scripted Original titles take centre stage in streamers’ content strategies Of the $42bn in SVoD content spend dedicated to TV series and films, 90% is for scripted. Crime & Thriller tops SVoD spending, with investment expected to hit $12bn this year. Sci-Fi & Fantasy and Comedy genres also command substantial funds, emphasising that high-budget Scripted TV content remains the most powerful tool for attracting subscriptions and maintaining subscriber engagement. At a platform level, 2 Ampere Analysis 2023 © Netflix and Amazon Prime Video adopt a balanced approach to genre allocation, leveraging their scale to cater to the preferences of diverse demographics. Other SVoD players are pursuing more targeted spending strategies, focusing on key genres and IP to cultivate loyal subscriber bases. Apple TV+ dedicates 40% of its spend budget to Crime & Thriller titles, building on past successes such as Slow Horses and Severance. Disney+ has prioritised Sci-Fi & Fantasy and Children & Family genres, anchored by TV spin-offs from the Star Wars, MCU and Pixar franchises. From Talk to Dating, streamers turn to Unscripted content as budgets tighten Streamers are increasingly turning to Entertainment and Reality as their budgets tighten and they search for subscriber engagement at a lower cost. Spending on Unscripted content by SVoD platforms is set to hit $4.9bn this year, growing by 22% year-on-year, vastly outpacing the overall rise in spending by global streamers. An initial focus on Documentaries has expanded to encompass Entertainment and Reality, with a particular focus on both producing and acquiring Dating, Talk show and Game show formats. Content acquisition spend will rebound in 2024, after falling by 11% since 2021 Exclusive original titles have fuelled the growth of content budgets for global SVoD platforms, accounting for 67% of film and TV spend in 2023. However, the spotlight is shifting towards content acquisition strategies, poised to play an increasingly vital role. Content acquisition spend for major SVoD platforms is projected to grow by 5% next year, reaching $14.8bn. Crime, Romance, and Drama genres lead in acquired content spending, offering substantial potential for cross-border content licensing. In pursuit of cost-effective library expansion, compounded by industry strikes in the USA, SVoD 3 Ampere Analysis 2023 © platforms are looking to success stories like NBCUniveral's Suits and HBO shows Band of Brothers and Insecure on Netflix. Neil Anderson, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis says: “In 2023, we forecast that major global SVoD platforms will collectively invest $42bn in film and TV content. The moderated spending growth rate in comparison to previous years, underscores the maturity of the SVoD market and the importance of strategic spending across genres. At $15 billion, Netflix will retain its position as the top investor in global streaming content, albeit with a modest 2% increase. Meanwhile, rivals such as Disney+, Paramount+, and Apple TV+ are poised for more substantial budget expansions, projecting year-on-year increases exceeding 10%.”

BBC Studios appoints SVP Scripted & SVP Factual for EMEA

Ahead of Mipcom 2023, BBC Studios have announced that Chris Kinsman and Rebecca Ransley have been promoted to the newly created roles of Senior Vice President Factual and Senior Vice President Scripted for BBC Studios’ Content Sales Markets EMEA.Based in London and reporting to Nick Percy, President of Global Markets, Chris and Rebecca will lead the teams responsible for co-production and finished tape sales across all EMEA markets, setting the sales strategy and directing co-production and content financing opportunities for their respective genres. Chris and Rebecca will work closely with BBC Studios’ content sales leads across Global Markets and North America, as well as with BBC Studios Production leadership.Nick Percy, President, Global Markets said, “Both Chris and Rebecca bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their new roles which have been created to reflect the evolving needs of our business. With these promotions I am delighted to be able to recognise the quality of their leadership and the strength and expertise of our sales teams.”Chris Kinsman, SVP Factual, Content Sales Markets EMEA said, “For a number of years Rebecca and I have worked alongside each other, so we’re delighted to be jointly leading the integrated EMEA sales team with these new roles and we’re looking forward to unlocking further opportunities for our world class factual and scripted programming.”Rebecca Ransley, SVP Scripted, Content Sales Markets EMEA said, “With BBC Studios’ ambitious growth plans and growing pipeline it’s the perfect time to have refreshed our team structure in line with the company’s objectives allowing closer and richer conversations with our partners.”Chris has spent almost twenty years nurturing key strategic relationships for the EMEA region at BBC Studios. Having worked across sales and co-productions in France and content sales in Italy and Iberia, Chris then went on to lead the Western Europe Content Sales team for Factual. Over the course of his time at BBC Studios, Chris has led commercial partnerships across key EMEA markets for Factual, overseen the negotiations and delivered multiple co-productions for key BBC Studios’ content and fostered long lasting partnerships.With over a decade of experience within roles at BBC Studios, Rebecca has managed sales teams across multiple EMEA markets working with both local and global partners. Over recent years she has worked closely on BBC Studios’ scripted output and its sales strategy across EMEA, ensuring a natural progression into her new role. Prior to her time at BBC Studios, Rebecca held a variety of commercial and production roles at the BBC including at BBC Panorama.BBC Studios recently announced that it will be heading to Mipcom with a standout slate packed with distinct, high-quality programming, including Mammals, The Famous Five, Truelove, Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution and The Unique Boutique.Bespoke events include a fireside chat with, CEOs for Global Distribution and Productions, Rebecca Glashow and Ralph Lee, and live play-along game of primetime entertainment format, The 1% Club.BBC Studios will be located at P0.E1 within the Palais des Festivals Verrière section at the market.

Apparel Group’s brand Inglot secures Superbrand status at Superbrands Award 2023

In a spectacular celebration of branding excellence, – Inglot, a renowned cosmetics and beauty brand under Apparel Group umbrella, is proud to announce winning the prestigious Superbrands status. Along with other 9 brands, Inglot received this recognition at a grand ceremony held on 28th at the Intercontinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City.The Superbrands organization, renowned globally as an independent authority and arbiter of branding brilliance, is dedicated to honoring exceptional brands and fostering the discipline of branding. The accolade is a testament to the relentless pursuit of quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction that each of the winning brands epitomizes.Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, shared his strategic perspective on the recognition, stating, “Receiving this prestigious Award is both an honor and a valuable affirmation of our strategic commitment to excellence and innovation. This recognition underscores our relentless pursuit of delivering unparalleled quality and value, reflecting the strength and resilience of our brand portfolio. I am immensely proud of our dedicated team, whose consistent efforts enhance our brand’ s reputation and strategically position us for continued growth and success in the competitive global market.”This award bear witness to Inglot’s exceptional ability to grow and exceed in the competitive market, reinforcing its status as a leading brand in the global beauty industry. The award demonstrates Inglot’s unique ability to resonate with consumers, offering products and experiences that stand out in the marketplace.This recognition capitlises Apparel Group’s exceptional ability to nurture and grow brands in the competitive market, further solidifying their position in the global market.

Publicis Groupe Middle East dominates 4A’s Jay Chiat Awards

The 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) announced the winners of the 2023 Jay Chiat Awards across 11 categories. Focusing on excellence in strategic thinking, the Jay Chiat Awards are renowned to be the epitome of awards when it comes to strategy. “The Jay Chiat Awards place a premium on strategic contribution and its role in the outcome, market results and story told. We wanted to be meticulous about identifying bold and visionary strategic insights not eclipsed by creative work. Another key consideration was around how each strategic approach overcame challenges,” said Marla Kaplowitz, President and CEO of the 4A’s. And for the second consecutive year, Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett Middle East has won the title of Global Agency of the Year, winning 3 Gold, 3 Silver, 3 Bronze and 2 Honorable Mentions. “Taking home Global Agency of the Year for the second year in a row at an international show for exceptional strategic thinking is a big achievement. Strong strategy leads to successful outcomes, the kind of results our clients want to see. Bravo to our amazing talent for continuing to work as a Power of One to create an impact, together with our valued clients," said Bassel Kakish, CEO, Publicis Groupe Middle East and Turkey.  Publicis Groupe Middle East’s agencies were the only agencies from the region recognized at this year’s Jay Chiat Awards. “We were the first agency from the region to be recognized as Global Agency of the Year last year. And we have repeated this again, with more wins in 2023. It speaks to the fact that strategy is integral to our culture, and thanks to Bassel’s support for strategy, we have hired great talents. It also speaks to the fact that there are strong partnerships between strategy, creative, business leadership, innovation and even, production, that has created the rich repository of work being recognized consistently at Jay Chiats and elsewhere globally,” said Tahaab Rais, Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis Groupe Middle East and Turkey. Alongside Leo Burnett Middle East, Saatchi & Saatchi Middle East won 2 Silvers and 1 Honorable Mention and Publicis Middle East won 1 Gold, to take Publicis Groupe Middle East’s tally to 14 recognitions at the Jay Chiat Awards, making it the Most Awarded Holding Company globally too.

Vishal Bharadwaj's 'Khufiya' - A Weekend Matinee You Won't Regret

A slow burner espionage drama with the early 2000's as its backdrop; Vishal Bharadwaj's Khufiya premiered directly on Netflix this weekend and despite its sluggish pace, kept me in an engaging mode right till the end. It's a tad long at near two hours forty minutes but still worth the time invested. I vouch!! The plot ain't that complicated: RAW officer KM (Tabu) is assigned the task of spying on a suspected fellow agent (Ali Fazal) and his family, who has evidently sold his soul to the CIA. But, has he really? There is also a parallel track of a Bangladeshi minister, who is conspiring something sinister. KM lays her trust on a new recruit Heena (Azmeri Haque Badhon) but can she pull off the seemingly impossible task??!!! Don't expect a high octane actioner or a screen scorcher as Khufiya takes its own time to build its core characters, involve you in the proceedings and then moves to its climax...which may make it a tedious watch for the impatient but then a Baby (2015) or Pathaan (2023), it ain't or expected to be!! Surprisingly, the espionage movie belongs to its ladies who truly impress big time. Tabu, the superlative actor that she is, leaves a mark though her role isn't entirely meaty. Wamiqa Gabbi as Charu, Ali Fazal's wifey delivers a knockout act especially in the film's second half. Bangladeshi star Azmeri Haque Badhon is outstanding in her complex role. Here's an actor to watch out for in future and hope Bollywood gives her more roles!! Overall, Khufiya has the trademark Vishal Bharadwaj touch though I personally feel the director gives his best when adapting Shakespeare. Who can forget Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006) and of course Haider (2014), my personal favorite of the trio. Khufiya isn't as great as them but still makes the cut to a watch. Make it your weekend matinee!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 4/5 2. Direction : 3.5/53. Music : 3/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3.5/55. Cinematography : 3/56. Editing : 2.5/5 7. Costume Design : 3.5/58. Special Effects and VFX : NA9. Action : NA10. Production Quality : 3.5/5 #SNRating for #Khufiya : 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni Liked the review? Click on the link below and like the #SNRatings page to subscribe to honest and unbiased reviews of all latest movies :

Ossiano appoints Julien Gardin as GM and Thomas Domingues as Head Sommelier

Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm, announces the appointment of Julien Gardin (pictured above), as General Manager and Thomas Domingues as Head Sommelier.In the wake of a remarkable year for the one Michelin-star restaurant, the two notable talents are set to elevate the award-winning dining experience even further as it enters a new era of excellence. Julien, with over two decades of experience in prestigious fine-dining restaurants around the world, now oversees Ossiano. He leads a high-performing team, and enhances service and operational performance, all while sharing his passion for exceptional guest experiences.Before joining Ossiano, Julien held various leadership positions. Most recently, he served as the General Manager at And? in Hong Kong, guiding the restaurant to Michelin-star status, securing a coveted spot on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2023 as well as a diamond on Black Pearl restaurant Guide. Prior to this, Julien led The Tasting Room in Macau, a distinguished two-Michelin-star restaurant in City Of Dreams. His earlier experience includes serving as a Restaurant Manager at the acclaimed three-Michelin-star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London. Before joining Alain Ducasse, Julien spent eight incredible years at three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal in the UK, serving in various roles.Another notable addition to Ossiano is Thomas Domingues, who has joined the team as the Head Sommelier. With a unique approach to wine, he emphasises storytelling as the essence of his philosophy. Hailing from the scenic south coast of Portugal, Thomas’s French heritage has provided his palate with a deep appreciation for exquisite flavours and refined techniques. He has worked in Michelin-star restaurants, including AOC in Denmark, Loco in Portugal, and Belcanto by José Avillez in Portugal which is no.25 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. With four years of experience at Vila Joya Hotel & Spa in the Algarve which was ranked at no.37 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Thomas has learnt the art of crafting a sensory experience for guests by weaving stories through every wine pairing, leaving an indelible mark on diners.2023, to date, has been an extraordinary year for Ossiano. As well as a debut ranking of 87th best restaurant in the world in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2023, Ossiano also ranked 4th and highest new entry in the 2023 Middle East and Africa's 50 Best Restaurants list. In June 2023, Ossiano also retained its Michelin star in Dubai's 2023 Michelin guide, and in April 2023, Ossiano was awarded the most highly rated restaurant at the world-leading restaurant guide Gault&Millau, where it took a four-toque status, as well as Restaurant of the Year.

Expo City Dubai unveils calendar of new experiences

Expo City Dubai has revealed a rich calendar of events as it announced that Al Wasl Plaza – the beating heart of the community – has set the Guinness World Records™ title for the largest interactive immersive dome.The upcoming diary, which spans high-tech experiences to cultural festivals, exciting new dining options and a raft of sports and wellness initiatives, reinforces Expo City’s position as the home of creativity, global innovation and wellbeing. Among its latest offerings is a new, groundbreaking augmented reality (AR) experience, with visitors soon able to interact with Al Wasl dome through their mobile phones. The venue for Expo 2020’s spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as multi-sensory performances by local and international stars such as Nancy Ajram and Coldplay, Al Wasl Plaza can now count the Guinness World Records™ title among its many achievements. Alwaleed Osman, Official Adjudicator at Guinness World Records™ said: “Al Wasl Plaza stands as a testament to architectural excellence and a distinguished structure that resonates with those who have had the privilege of experiencing it. Its recognition in Guinness World Records™ underscores the commitment of Expo 2020, and the subsequent Expo City Dubai, to innovation and excellence.”Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director, Events & Entertainment, Expo City Dubai, said: “Al Wasl, which means ‘connection’ in Arabic, continues to bring people together, and we are thrilled to share details of our new experiences at the same time as our iconic interactive dome has received this prestigious recognition. From interactive augmented reality and a tribute to legendary explorer Ibn Battuta, to the launch of a sustainable café and the return of our popular Winter City and Hai Ramadan festivities, our upcoming offerings cement our city as a hub of creativity, innovation and wellbeing.” A hive of creativity and innovationThe calendar reveal coincides with the grand opening of the new Al Wasl Plaza Café, a homegrown brand offering Arabic fusion cuisine that prides itself on its sustainability credentials, including the use of recycled fabrics for its uniforms created by textile tech company Pangaia. The café is one of many new F&B outlets setting up in the city, from plant-based cuisine to high-class dining, and including brand new concepts as well as the return of some Expo 2020 Dubai favourites.Upcoming events include -22.7°C by Molécule, an artistic musical adventure on 27 and 28 October that highlights Greenland’s rapidly melting ice, and the Dubai Calligraphy Biennale – the first of a series of collaborations with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority – taking place on 21 and 28 October and featuring Japanese VR/NFT artist Aimi Sekiguchi and Emirati painter, photographer and sculptor Mattar Bin Lahej. The inaugural Artificial Intelligence Film Festival (AIFF) – the first of its kind in the region – continues, and Expo City is also looking forward to Winter City from 8 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, celebrating the magic of the festive season for the second consecutive year. Next year, Expo City will host Break the Block – a music, food and arts festival that pays homage to the spirit of young urbanites – in January; the Middle East debut of electronic dance music festival Untold from 15-18 February; and the return of Hai Ramadan, expected to run from 11 March to 10 April, showcasing the true spirit of the Holy Month.The high-octane destination is also keeping up with its commitment to promoting physical activity as a way of life by bringing people of all ages and abilities together with an inspiring array of sports and fitness activities, including the Dubai Half Marathon on 4 February and the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge on 24 and 25 February, both of which will set out from Expo City Dubai.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi inaugurates its first route to Erbil

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE and the second largest airline in Abu Dhabi by seat capacity, is celebrating the inauguration of its first flight from Abu Dhabi to Erbil. The new route provides affordable, hassle-free, point-to-point travel for tourists and residents in the UAE, Iraq and across the region. Tickets are on sale on and the airline’s mobile app with fares starting as low as AED 269 *.The flights from Abu Dhabi to Erbil operate on a convenient schedule, flying on Monday and Friday, with the national airline flying to more than 40 destinations from Abu Dhabi.Erbil is a modern metropolis with a rich history, warm hospitality, and stunning landscapes. With a vibrant culture and incredible historical sites, including the ancient Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, travellers of all ages can immerse themselves in multiple historical civilizations. Some of the must-see historical and natural attractions include the Sami Abdul Rahman Park, Jalil Khayat Mosque and Kurdish textile museum with memorable and enriching travel experiences awaiting.Basking in glorious year round sunshine, Abu Dhabi is a world-renowned family friendly destination with incredible art, culture, tradition and hospitality offerings. The UAE capital, blessed with stunning beach resorts, excellent cultural offerings and exciting attractions offers visitors a warm welcome and breath taking natural and built beauty. The city offers an enriching historical experience and a bustling culture to explore with a plethora of both relaxation and adventure options to suit all ages.Johan Eidhagen, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said: “We are delighted to inaugurate our first flight to Erbil, a city of spectacular historical beauty, as we reaffirm our commitment to growing our ever-expanding network throughout the region. With the recent arrival of the 11th aircraft to our fleet, we are further bolstering our ambitious expansion plans and are ready to unlock further low-fares and exciting travel options to must-see destinations. We look forward to sharing our love of travel and welcoming you on board our aircraft soon.”Passengers can book tickets with confidence, thanks to WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100% of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.Strategically located in the UAE, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi provides cost-effective and efficient travel options to Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Cairo (Egypt) and Dammam (Saudi Arabia). As well as routes to Erbil (Iraq) Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Larnaca (Cyprus), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Madinah (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Grece), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sohag (Egypt), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others.