The COVID-19 has played a significant role in wealth redistribution, with tech companies and their founders emerging as the biggest winners. While aviation, real estate, and hospitality industries have been pushed to the bottom of the global rich list, the tech industry billionaires have witnessed the largest wealth gains in the last year.
According to data, the combined net worth of the five wealthiest people in the US tech industry hit $567 billion in February, more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 80 poorest countries combined.
Jeff Bezos’ Wealth Surged by 65% Year-Over-Year (YoY) and Hit $187 billion in 2021
As the COVID-19 spread, the world has relied on many technological tools across different sectors–from business and education to commerce and health care. Tech companies that have provided the best solutions amid the pandemic witnessed the most significant revenue surge, while their founders got richer, to the tune of billions.
Amazon products have become one of the most demanded in the world during the pandemic, as it keeps providing tech items, groceries, and entertainment to people amid lockdown. Because of the high demand for its services, the company had to hire an additional 175,000 workers to keep up with surging demand.
According to the Forbes billionaire list, the COVID-19 has helped Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos to grow his wealth by $74 billion in the last year, with his net worth reaching $187 billion this month. The International Monetary Fund data shows this figure is closest to New Zealand and Iraq’s GDP, which ranked 52nd and 53rd globally with $193.5 billion and $178.1 billion, respectively.
Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder, is the second wealthiest person in the US tech industry, and globally. The net worth of the billionaire working with the WHO and drug makers to defeat the coronavirus is currently standing at $120billion. Statistics show Gates’ wealth grew by $22billion in the last year and is now closest to Morocco’s GDP, which ranked 59th globally.
As the fifth-largest tech company globally, Facebook has also witnessed impressive growth in 2020. The Facebook shares rose by 26% in the last year, pushing its CEO’s fortune up by $39 billion to $93.7 billion. This figure means that Mark Zuckerberg’s wealth is $700 million above Puerto Rico’s GDP, which stands at $93.9 billion.
The chairman, chief technology officer, and co-founder of software giant Oracle, Larry Ellison, and co-founder of Google, Larry Page, ranked as the fourth and fifth tech billionaires globally, with $84.9 billion and $80.4 billion in net worth as of this month. Their wealth is the closest to Sri Lanka and Dominican Republic’s GDP, which ranked 66th and 67th globally, with $81.1 billion and $77.8 billion, respectively.
Top Five Tech Billionaires Worth more than GDP of Sweden, Thailand or Belgium
According to Forbes and International Monetary Fund data, the cumulative wealth of the top five tech billionaires also surpasses the GDP of several countries considered to be economic powerhouses. For example, their combined net worth is bigger than the GDP of Austria, Norway, or United Arab Emirates, which ranked 28th, 33rd, and 35th globally with $432.8 billion, $366.3 billion, and $353.9 billion, respectively.
Statistics show that the five tech billionaires’ wealth is the closest to Poland and Sweden’s GDP, which ranked as the 23rd and 24th economies globally. The two countries’ gross domestic product stood at $580.9 billion and $529 billion in 2020.
Abu Dhabi has intentions of making the city a leading hub for technology and innovation in the Middle East.
Part of that evolution is utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to assist with as many tasks as possible, from delivering packages to aiding in police operations to helping investigate crashes on highways to delivering high-value transports, like organs for transplant.
With autonomy, though, comes risks of hackers and complications between interacting agents.
A group of Purdue University researchers have been tasked to make sure drones and their systems could operate securely, safely and efficiently in the United Arab Emirates capital. Inseok Hwang, a professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is principal investigator on a three-year, $2.3-million grant from the Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi to study the application of secure drone swarms in urban environments.
The project requires expertise in autonomous vehicles, control, sensing, virtual reality and security. James Goppert, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and managing director of the UAS Research and Test Facility, and Dongyan Xu, the Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science and director of CERIAS (Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security), Purdue’s cybersecurity research and education center, are co-principal investigators on the project.
“We will address this problem in a highly integrated, interdisciplinary way,” Hwang said. “We will consider it from the program level to the high-level network of systems, so we accomplish the hierarchic way from the very detailed lower level, the software and hardware level, to the large network of vehicles and from the single vehicle to multivehicle. So it’s multidimensional. That’s one of the unique pieces of this project.”
The project will utilize one of Purdue’s unrivaled assets, the UAS Research and Test Facility. The 20,000-square-foot, 35-feet high facility, located at Hangar 4 of the Purdue University Airport, features the largest indoor motion capture system in the world and offers unique capabilities for novel research.
Goppert will build a mixed reality environment, combining a virtual reality urban environment with a scaled physical model of the city. The drones will fly and navigate the city, and the environment can be programmed to simulate a wide range of settings, including weather, traffic and urban development, to test the drones’ applicability and agility. The testing will be done with single vehicles as well as swarms, which could include 10 drones.
Hwang said he hasn’t seen any research done using mixed reality to this scale. Neither has Goppert.
“Our unique capability is that we have such a large environment to do it,” Goppert said. “Just running so many vehicles at once is going to be a challenge. In the past, several vehicles have been used. But if we’re going to be running swarms where each vehicle needs a rendered virtual mixed reality image, that’s going to be really computationally challenging. That’s what we’re pushing forward.
“We thought we could try to bring it as close to real-life as possible to get as many of the bugs worked out before they actually deploy such a system. We can do it all in software, but there’s an added advantage in bringing it closer to reality by making some of it actual robots.”
Hwang and Xu will have a multitiered approach from the cybersecurity and robustness standpoint. Xu will investigate from the cyber perspective of security, encryption, authentication and peer-to-peer communications. Hwang will develop a mathematical model and use the control theoretical solution approach, assessing potential cyberattacks on the systems and working to design a controller in such a way that the system becomes more resilient to attacks.
“This project reflects exciting synergies between two areas of technical excellence at Purdue: aeronautics and astronautics, and cybersecurity,” Xu said.
Ultimately, all of the research will be integrated and pieced together around the state-of-the-art test bed, which could happen toward the end of the second year of the three-year grant.
With a variety of drones tasked with different assignments, “how do we make sure they play well together?” Goppert said. “We’re trying to simulate that within our facility.”
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.
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Award-winning, Michelin-starred Chef, Daniel Boulud, to open first Dubai restaurant in Sofitel Dubai Wafi
Brasserie Boulud, a new dining concept by Daniel Boulud – chef-owner of award-winning restaurants around the globe – is set to open its doors this September within Sofitel Dubai Wafi in the United Arab Emirates. Inspired by the French art de vivre, Boulud’s very first restaurant in the Middle East will offer French-inspired contemporary cuisine, rooted in tradition.
While Boulud hails from outside Lyon, France, it is in New York, that he has truly mastered the dining scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Renowned for the modern appeal he adds to soulful cooking in authentic French classics, he has continuously evolved his cuisine and expanded his dining concepts in Washington DC, Miami, Palm Beach, Toronto, Montreal, London, Singapore, and now Dubai.
Drawing on his vast culinary knowledge, Boulud has chosen French Chef de Cuisine Nicolas Lemoyne to take the helm of Brasserie Boulud. Bringing more than 15 years of experience under his chef’s apron including working at Restaurant Daniel, Boulud’s flagship restaurant in New York, Lemoyne will bring a completely new French experience to Dubai’s current dining scene. The menu is inspired by the rhythm of the seasons and the finest ingredients, with specialties such as Melon Soup with Shrimp and Lemongrass, Homemade Duck and Foie Gras Rillette, Terrine of Spiced Lamb with Eggplant, Dover Sole Veronique with Romanesco Broccoli, BB Burger with Tomato Confit, Arugula and Raclette Cheese, Chicken Tagine with Saffron Cauliflower and Green Olives, Apricot Clafoutis with Pistachio, and Tarte au Chocolat et Framboises.
Stepping into timeless elegance, the beautiful décor of Brasserie Boulud will capture the imagination of the most discerning of diners. As guests walk into the restaurant, the art deco design theme is apparent throughout the venue as modern styles are combined with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. Eyes immediately gravitate to the soaring mirrored ceiling accentuated by modern chandeliers and the classic neutral color palette provides an understated, modern and relaxed atmosphere. The open kitchen offers a multi-sensory dining experience as the chefs showcase their skills. During weekends, live entertainment will accompany the dining experience, inviting guests to take refuge from a busy city life and live the French way.
Said Daniel Boulud of the partnership, “We are so excited to be bringing Brasserie Boulud to our friends in the Middle East for the very first time and we cannot imagine a better partner than Sofitel, a brand that echoes so many of the principles we stand for. They share in our passion for excellence in both hospitality and cuisine, and we look forward to providing an extraordinary experience to their guests.”
When it comes to eating and drinking well, Dubai’s dining scene is renowned for its diverse and globally driven nature. However, Brasserie Boulud is set to be a unique destination in itself – a bastion of taste and the true meaning of gastronomie française.
About Chef Daniel Boulud
Daniel Boulud is Chef-Owner of several award-winning restaurants and the Feast & Fêtes catering company. While he hails from outside Lyon, France, it is in New York that he has truly mastered the dining scene and is today considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities. Raised on his family’s farm in the village of Saint-Pierre-de-Chandieu, the chef remains inspired by the rhythm of the seasons and menus driven by fine ingredients.
Since arriving in New York City in 1982, he has continually evolved his cuisine and expanded his reach across the U.S., as well as London, Toronto, Montreal and Singapore. His culinary empire has brought him many accolades, including two Michelin-starred flagship, Daniel in New-York. Boulud’s culinary style and reverence to mentorship is also reflected in ten books, including the definitive DANIEL: My French Cuisine (Grand Central Publishing, 2013), My Best: Daniel Boulud (Ducasse Books, 2014) and a recently updated version of Letters to a Young Chef (Basic Books, 2017. In 2015, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awarded Boulud the Diners Club® Lifetime Achievement Award for his success as a restaurateur, businessman, and ‘chef who is revered as one of the world’s finest.’
About Sofitel Dubai Wafi
A sophisticated and chic address in the epicenter of luxury, Sofitel Dubai Wafi elegantly merges modern French art de vivre and ancient Egyptian heritage with the essence and culture of the UAE. Adorned with a gold pyramidion and in the shape of an obelisk, representative of the Luxor Obelisk currently in Paris, Sofitel Dubai Wafi majestically thrones in the heart of Dubai. Connected to Wafi, a premium shopping and leisure destination, the hotel is just 10 minutes away from Dubai International Airport, as well as major cultural and tourist attractions in the city.
Ethiopian duo Soloman Deksisa and Worknesh Degefa will spearhead a strong elite field featuring major city marathon winners and athletes with more than 35 international victories between them when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon is staged on Friday (January 24).
Deksisa and Degefa boast the best Personal Bests in the men and women’s fields respectively and will be among the big favourites when the elite side of the IAAF Gold Label event race gets underway at 6am.
For Deksisa – who set his PB of 2:04:40 when finishing third in Amsterdam in 2018 – it’s a debut appearance on the flat and fast roads of Dubai and the 25-year-old will be looking to add to the back-to-back city marathon wins he enjoyed in Hamburg and Mumbai in 2018.
Another Dubai debutant is Kenya’s Eric Kiptanui whose personal best of 58:42 makes him the fastest half marathon runner ever entered into the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and the 29-year-old can maintain Dubai’s reputation as being a perfect course for debutants.
It was only a year ago when Ethiopia’s Getaneh Molla won the race on his debut in a course record time of 2:03:34 – and Kiptanui has the explosive potential to continue this tradition and possibly end Ethiopia’s eight-year dominance of the men’s race.
But while Deksisa and Kiptanui are Dubai “new boys”, for Worknesh Degefa it’s a welcome return to one of her favourite hunting grounds. The diminutive 29-year-old holds the distinction of being the fastest Ethiopian female marathon runner of all time thanks to a stunning personal best of 2:17:41 – the fifth fastest marathon time ever run by a woman – set in Dubai just twelve months ago.
As well as that personal best when finishing second last year, Degefa won in Dubai in 2017 and finished 4th in 2018. A superb victory at the Boston Marathon back in April 2019 shows she remains a serious world talent and will start as a hot favourite this weekend.
As always, however, she will have her challengers, most notably former Boston Marathon winner Bizunesh Deba (2:19:59) and the up-and-coming Bedatu Hirpa, who won the 2017 Athens Marathon at the age of just 18.
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has again brought together a field of elites with marathon victories to their names in cities such as Rome, Athens, Milan, Shanghai and Lisbon.
“We are pleased to be the title sponsor of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon for the 16th consecutive year,” said Rola Abu Manneh, CEO for Standard Chartered Bank, UAE. “This flagship event, now in its 21st year, has become one of the region’s most anticipated social and sporting platforms bringing together thousands of people from all over the world. For the few hours of the marathon, all participants are united on one single path – to the finish line.
“As well as the elite runners, the event will also attract athletes and participants who want to challenge themselves; some who want to be fitter and healthier; some who want to raise money for charity; and some who just want a fun day out with their friends and family. And just like every year, we will have over 600 people from Standard Chartered who will be volunteering or running at the event.”
While the elite fields will take to the roads at 6am on Friday with the masses off an hour later at 7am, the honour of getting the day’s action underway falls to a stellar international field of wheelchair athletes. Among those starting a battle royale at 5.55am will be the defending champions Marcel Hug and Sandra Graf of Switzerland
“Last year we witnessed two new course records and some fantastic Marathon times,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “This week, the course is the same for the 21st running of the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon so we are looking forward to yet another high-quality race from a talented group of elite athletes.
“Our thanks go out to our sponsors as well as the Dubai Sports Council and all the Government bodies who come together to provide the framework for this event. Without their assistance and invaluable support, a race of this scale on the streets of the city would not be possible.”
Runners looking to take part in the Marathon, the 10km Road Race (8.15am) or the 4km Fun Run (11am) can register online until Thursday (Jan 23) either at dubaimarathon.org or at Run Number collection at Jumeirah Beach Hotel Conference Centre. UAE Nationals in particular are encouraged to take part in the event thanks to the ‘#My City_My Race’ campaign, launched by Dubai Holding.
Khalid Al Malik, Managing Director of Dubai Holding said: “We introduced the UAE National Winners Category for the Dubai Marathon as part of our ongoing commitment to community wellness and fostering Emirati pride. We are delighted to see that the number of Emirati participants has grown by 325% with more than ever before set to take part in the 2020 edition of the city’s signature fitness event. I am also pleased to say that more Emirati women are participating in the Marathon. Last year, we saw almost 200 Emirati women running across the different race categories, which is 21% more than in 2018.“
He added: “This year, with our ‘#MyCity_MyRace’ campaign, we have put even more emphasis behind actively encouraging UAE Nationals of all fitness levels to take part in the 10km, 42km and Wheel Chair categories with early figures showing that 30% more will participate versus last year. We look forward to seeing record numbers of Emirati’s on the start line on Friday and hope that one day, the winner of the full marathon will be a UAE National.”
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Holding, Masafi, Channel 4 Radio Network, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA. Live TV streaming of the race will be available at http://bit.ly/DubaiMarathon2020.
JA Manafaru Resort in the Maldives collaborated with local partners, guests and the community to undertake a plastic removal and sustainability initiative on a neighboring island
JA Manafaru Maldives recently collaborated with a local school and their ocean activity partner, Best Dives Private Limited, to collect more than 23 jumbo bags of waste from a neighboring island and Marine Protected Area; Gallandhoo for recycling through Parley Maldives.
Parley Maldives is the Maldives branch of Parley for the Oceans, a global collaboration network with a new approach to environmentalism. The mission of Parley is to end today’s major ocean threats through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation. The private island resort of JA Manafaru itself is spectacularly beautiful and unspoilt, sitting in the crystal-clear waters of the most northern point of the Haa Alifu Atoll. Although the ocean and beach areas surrounding the award-winning resort are pristine examples awe-inspiring nature, other islands in the Maldives have issues with waste, particularly non- biodegradable materials like plastic.
Best Dives Maldives, a local diving, excursion and ocean activity company partnered with the JA Manafaru Resort and a local school – Hoarafushi School, to undertake a monumental task in cleaning up the western coastline of Marine Protected Area (MPA), Gallandhoo. The JA Manafaru Environmental & Sustainability team planned the clean-up with Best Dives, informed guests and arranged resort boats to collect volunteers heading to the island to clean the area. Together more than 50 staff, guests, students and parents filled over 23 jumbo bags of waste in one hour. Marine biologists asserted that Gallandhoo Island looked strikingly different after the team efforts and considerable potential damage to marine life was averted. All the plastic waste collected will be sent to Parley.
To address the fast-growing threat of marine plastic pollution, Parley have devised a strategy that can be scaled across private households, schools, businesses and governments: Parley AIR — Avoid, Intercept, Redesign. Guided by these pillars, they advocate avoiding the use of single-use plastics and promoting responsible disposal of single-use plastics. The goal in the Maldives is to boost the protection of the marine ecosystem through collective change. In collaboration with plastic interception partners, Parley has now exported 48 containers of plastic waste from the Maldives, preventing over 800 tons of plastics from entering the oceans. These plastics are recycled and upcycled to help create a new economy of eco-innovation and collaboration, beginning with reducing the use of raw virgin plastics in production processes.
School students and guests were presented with certificates of appreciation for their participation in the JA Manafaru event, and when asked why there was such an issue with plastic waste on Gallandhoo, the students explained there are low levels of understanding for many people regarding the disposal of plastic waste and of the environmental damage it causes. New General Manager, Karen Merrick commented;
‘JA Manafaru in collaboration with our ocean activity partner Best Dives is committed to improving upon and reducing our environmental footprint here in Haa Alifu, one of the most uninhabited atolls in Maldives. We are honored and humbled to live and work as custodians of this beautiful part of the world and assist with such initiatives whenever/wherever we can. Every day we continue our internal mission to ensure education and awareness play a part of life here at JA Manafaru’.
In order to preserve the coral reef, beautiful beaches and sea life, the JA Manafaru team has an ongoing commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. The hotel no longer uses plastic bottles for drinking water and instead have their own glass bottling plant, which results in a huge reduction in plastic waste. The JA Manafaru ‘House Reef Cleaning’ also invites guests to give back in a fun snorkelling and underwater reef-cleaning exercise, which certified divers can join. All items collected are logged so that any notable pollution can be immediately addressed. Other initiatives in planning at JA Manafaru include upgrading the water desalination plant for residual water to be used for landscaping, solar panel installation and a campaign for associates that raises awareness about reducing energy consumption.
About JA Manafaru
JA Manafaru is an idyllic 5-star luxury island resort fringed with exquisite powder beaches in pristine, lagoon-ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives. Accessed by private seaplane, the chic tropical hideaway features 84 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas and bungalows, each with their own private plunge pool. Seven scenic dining destinations provide a culinary journey with traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts. China’s most renowned chef, Da Dong, brings his Michelin acclaim to White Orchid Asian restaurant with a collaborative menu launched in 2019. World-class recreational facilities include Calm Spa, a fully equipped dive, water sports and excursion centre, plus a Marine Research Centre to conserve local ecology. Once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon celebrations are also a specialty at JA Manafaru, which has been recognised as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort (2019 World Luxury Hotel Awards). ‘Legend’ hotels by Preferred Hotels & Resorts are the ultimate collection of extraordinary properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations and JA Manafaru is the only property selected in the Maldives. Ranked among the World’s Ten Best Hotels (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2019), JA Manafaru is a tropical paradise where unique experiences can become unforgettable memories.
For more information on JA Manafaru, please visit;
A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence, in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features 8 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence. Other attractive options include the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them– JA Beach Hotel, the all-suite JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property due to open in September 2019. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel completes the portfolio as Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the stunning Hajar Mountains landscape. JA Resorts & Hotels is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 30 brands with over 550 hotels in 78 countries.
For more information on JA Resorts & Hotels, please visit;
Former champions Lemi Berhanu and Worknesh Degefa will be among the powerful elite line-up when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon celebrates its 20th edition on the streets of the UAE on January 25.
The two Ethiopians – winners in 2015 and 2017 respectively – are key figures in the roll of honour of the Middle East’s biggest mass participation event, the only IAAF Gold Label Marathon in the region.
Lemi has performed well on the global stage but his best performances have always been on the flat and fast streets of Dubai. As well as winning the title four years ago in a time of 2h:05m:28s, he set his personal best at the event when as defending champion he finished runner-up in 2016 in 2h:04:33.
Still only 25, Lemi has also competed at World Championship level and at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Like an increasing number of elite runners, he has also prospered at the marathon distance in China, winning the Hengshui title with 2h:08m:51s in September 2018, the Xiamen Marathon in 2017 (2h:08m:27s) and the 2014 Taiyuan Marathon (2h:13m:10s).
Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will welcome a number of the world’s best athletes as the marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary with elite fields in both the men and women’s races.
Among the leading elite women in the line-up, Worknesh Degefa who stunned the athletics world in 2017 by winning on her marathon debut in Dubai. The Ethiopian caused quite an upset beating a strong field of experienced marathon runners in a time of 2h:22m:36s although she was disappointed 12 months later.
Running in the defence of her crown Worknesh set a new personal best 2h:19m:53s yet failed to break into the top three as the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon once again proved its strength in depth with four women breaking the 2h:20m – the first time the feat has ever been achieved in one race.
“It’s very unusual that a runner will break the 2:20 mark and not win a marathon,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “But that just shows how deep the quality runs in our elite fields. Last year we had seven men break 2h:05m – a unique result in marathon history – so the athletes competing in Dubai know they have to be at their very best to get among the medals.”
The elite marathon athletes will get their race underway at 6am on January 25, five minutes after the wheelchair athletes take to the course. The mass marathon field will face the starting gun at 7am with the 10km Road Race beginning at 8.30am and the 4km Fun Run at 10.30am. Runners looking to register can still do so by visiting the official website www.dubaimarathon.org.
In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Aquafina and Gatorade, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality and the RTA.
Sharjah is the hidden gem of the UAE, a destination well known to the art connoisseurs that visit for the Art Foundation Biennial every other year. For families looking to explore an authentic destination, Sharjah is the region to visit now as it celebrates an exciting cultural renaissance. Sharjah will be hosting the first Fringe Festival on the Arabian Peninsula. The inaugural Sharjah International Fringe Festival will take place in January 2020 and will host music, circus, comedy and theatre productions aimed, primarily, at families and children, together with an extensive street theatre programme.
Here are five top experiences for families in Sharjah:
Discover MLEIHA Archeological Site
Visit Mleiha for an adventure deep into the deserts of Sharjah where you can uncover the secrets of the region’s ancient Bedouin culture. Get your adrenaline rush by exploring the beautiful landscapes of Mleiha on a dune buggy visiting Camel Rock, the Faya Dunes and the Mleiha Desert. Pay a visit to the Mleiha Archaeological Centre where you can learn about life in the region in years gone by as well as take a closer look at the wide variety of artifacts on display.
Spend a day at Al Majez waterfront
The unique Al Maraya Art Park is located here. At this outdoor art exhibit, adults can observe artists work from international destinations in the Sculpture Park while their kids learn and explore in the Children’s Art Park. The Children’s Art Park is specially designed to introduce young kids to the world of art through sculptures, educational activities, and games. Also at Al Majez waterfront is a mini splash park where kids can cool off and play in its tunnels while watching the aquatic displays.
Play at Al Montazah Water Park
Al Montazah Water Park is the first of its kind, offering electronic games along with water rides and a go-kart race track for kids and adults. The water park has a wide range of pools appropriate and suitable for kids of different ages. For added fun, an amusement park is conveniently located next to the water-park. The parks contain 35 attractions with state of the art facilities all around the grounds and a picnic area.
Reflect at the Islamic Botanical Garden
Located in Sharjah Desert Park, this garden allows visitors to take in the horticulture of this exotic destination. With over 100 varieties of plants, you and your family will be mesmerized by the incredible biodiversity present. The gardens are a peaceful environment designed to promote reflection through paved walkways, ornamental pools, and narrow waterways. Before or after strolling through the grounds, be sure to take time to visit the interpretation center and Arabic cafe.
Learn at the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum
Take your family through these exhibits to unveil the complexity of the emirate’s aquatic life, animals, fauna, and flora. You will be able to learn how Sharjah’s massive sand dunes were created along with viewing a collection of meteorites. Kids will be entertained throughout their visit to the museum by digitally erupting volcanoes and prehistoric fossils in addition to the dinosaur models on display.
The Heritage House at Al Bait Sharjah is the perfect place for families. It offers 4 Al Bait Heritage Rooms and 2 Al Bait Heritage Suites, allowing guests an entire house and full privacy. Al Bait Sharjah which translates to ‘The Home’ is set to raise the bar for luxury resort accommodations in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE). Located 20 miles or 16 km (10 miles) from Dubai in the UAE’s most ambitious historical restoration project known as Heart of Sharjah, the resort will be home to 53 luxury guest rooms and suites. The resort facilities and amenities at the boutique property will include a museum, library, ice cream shop, pool, and an array of dining offerings spotlighting local and international cuisine. The architecture and design will sensitively reflect Arabic culture, in tune with its surroundings and blending harmoniously with the heritage buildings in the district.
Sharjah is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that form the UAE. The emirate of Sharjah comprises the capital city of Sharjah and smaller towns including Khorfakkan, Kalba, and Dibba Al-Hisn. Ruled by the Al Qasimi family, it is bordered by Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north. Sharjah is a diverse destination with many layers that represent chapters in the emirate’s rich and varied history, from the atmospheric streets in the Heart of Sharjah to the ancient archaeology sites deep in the desert. These riches have led to the city being named the 1998 Cultural Capital of the Arab World, the 2014 Capital of the Islamic Culture and the 2015 Capital of Arab Tourism.
It’s usually Dubai that earns the name for developing illustrious projects that claim world records and massive reception. The same can be said for the rest of the Emirates as well. The United Arab Emirates’ history is interspersed with its geography that extends from the longest shorelines to the highest dunes in the Gulf region. Residents and inhabitants will commonly find themselves immersed in these natural formations. Such is the philosophy behind the Sharjah Waterfront City which is being proclaimed as a destination of beauty.
True to its title, the project has captivated investor interests for its lucrative design which has combined the best and beautiful aspects of a natural foundation set aside a coastal creation that can only be described as ‘out of this world’.
The Dh25 billion project is split over six phases over eight natural islands. Phase I consists of 321 villas on Sun Island which have already been sold out- a testament to Sharjah’s rising
position as a real estate haven. The islands will consist of 1500 three, four, five, and six-bedroom villas as well as 95 mid-rise and high-rise towers, 14 hotels and serviced apartments.
Dusit and Kempinski are two hotel brands that have been roped in to set up world class destinations. Sun Island will occupy 205592.9 sqm of total area while the villas will take up 95566.09 sqm of area. The Crystal Lagoon water theme park will also be a part of the mixed use development.
Phase II will see the construction of commercial units and two hotels. The Waterfront City is Sharjah’s next step in providing state of the art living accommodations for a rapidly growing populace that drives the economy of the Emirate. To further augment the living experience and to cut down on environmental damages, all units have a solar water heating system, aluminum shade parking, home automated technologies and holocron roof slabs.
Anticipated for completion by the end of 2018, Phase I will just be the beginning of what is being called the third biggest real estate project in the Middle East, bringing something amazing for residents, shoppers, nature lovers, sports junkies and luxury heads.
Government of Abu Dhabi Announced as Host of World Ocean Summit 2019.
This year’s World Ocean Summit, held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has brought together over 500 leaders from the private sector, civil society and government to explore the development of a sustainable ocean economy through innovative financing and technologies as well as bold new efforts to implement the world’s sustainability commitments. It is the largest World Ocean Summit yet, and underscores The Economist Group’s doubling down on this topic, in no small part through announcing the launch of the World Ocean Initiative, an effort that will translate the momentum and focus of the World Ocean Summit into a year-round programme on the ocean that leverages the full capabilities of The Economist Group.
Carrying this momentum forward, The Economist Group is pleased to announce the Government of Abu Dhabi as the host of World Ocean Summit 2019. Abu Dhabi has a close relationship with the ocean, through its history as a centre for pearl diving, its resilient coral reefs and its mangroves sea grass meadows that provide valuable services in the face of climate change.
Bringing the World Ocean Summit to Abu Dhabi presents a unique opportunity to amplify the conversations on the sustainable development of the ocean in the Middle East and the wider region, and equally provides a platform for Abu Dhabi to share its innovative approaches to conservation, and developing a vibrant and sustainable ocean economy, with the rest of the world.
The challenges facing the ocean are global, and the World Ocean Summit 2019, which will be held March 5th-7th, will bring the bold discussions and diverse audiences that characterise the World Ocean Summit into a new part of the world, and host stimulating conversations on the topics of ocean financing, governance and innovation. A key priority for World Ocean Summit 2019 will be to foster greater cooperation and collaboration between different groups, and to serve as a bridge between the development of economic policies and protecting the marine environment. It intends to build a truly global community for the creation of a sustainable ocean economy. Through the World Ocean Initiative, The Economist Group will build a programme of work across these topics and themes throughout 2018 to ensure that we continue to play a role in fostering progress against the global community’s commitments on the ocean.
To know more about World Ocean Summit 2019 in Abu Dhabi, watch video here.
Minimalism is all the rage at the moment thanks to writers like Fumio Sasaki, so why not apply that approach when planning your next vacation? There’s so much information out there that it can seem overwhelming when you start researching places to go, with so many offers, travel guides, blogs, photos, videos, podcasts and all the rest. Sometimes you just need to drown out the noise and focus on what’s important.
That’s why Expedia has created these minimalist travel posters to help you see the essential elements on 14 of the top vacation destinations in the world. They’ve picked out the most important aspects of each destination, namely where you should go first, what food you should eat and where you can get that one stunning and shareable photo for your Instagram or Facebook page.
If you go to Berlin, for example, a whistlestop tour using these posters would take you to the aptly-named Panoramapunkt for a panoramic view of the TV Tower, followed by a trip to the past at the historic Brandenburg Gate. For food options, currywurst is a spicy taste of Berlin life and culture, while you can finish your stay with an energetic and symbolic bike ride down the Mauerweg, which follows the route of the old Berlin Wall.
Swapping Germany for South Africa, Cape Town has plenty to offer, even in the snapshot form of a minimalist visit. Speaking of snapshots, Bloubergstrand is the place to go to get that iconic photo of Table Mountain while you’ll also want to keep your camera to hand when you’re at Boulders Beach so you can get a shot of the penguins. Yes, there really are penguins there. The Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock is a good place to get souvenirs, while the recommended dish of the trip is potjiekos, a traditional meat stew.
As you’ll have seen from these two examples, there’s so much you can fit into even a minimalist travel poster if the destination is as exciting as Berlin or Cape Town. Others getting the minimalist treatment include Havana, London, Paris and even the Serengeti and Siam Reap, the Cambodian home of 800-year-old temple Angkor Wat. You can probably guess what the iconic photo from that trip would be.
So check out all 14 of these minimalist travel posters from Expediaand see which of the legendary destinations captures your imagination. Given that you can take in all the sights in just one day, you could even do a tour…
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