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Explorer magazine - April 2012 edition
(Digital version is available for download here).
Saber Al Rebai: Star Academy fan
Who would have thought major Arab stars had time to watch television talent contests? But it turns out there is a bunch out there who follow these shows from start to finish. Take Saber Al Rebai for instance, who recently admitted that he was a Star Academy fan. The 46-year-old — considered one of Tunisia’s biggest singing exports after bursting onto the scene in 2000 — admits he could...
Student wins pan-Arab talent show
An Egyptian journalism student has won the eighth season of the pan-Arab televised talent show Star Academy. Nesma Mahgoub, a student of the American University of Cairo, was crowned the winner on Friday at a star-studded affair evening, featuring live performances by Lebanese singer Najwa Karam, and Tunisian star Saber Al Rebaie. Mahgoub, who did not receive a single eviction nomination...
Arabian Bytes - The Week That Was... May 26
Oh, such a dramatic week. First, Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs – now known to have had an affair with Welsh model Imogen Thomas – put his foot in it by attempting to sue Twitter after some of its users posted his name despite the fact he had taken out an injunction preventing UK media from naming him. The only problem is that it caused so much outrage that Liberal Democrat MP John...
Reporting from the Arab Media Forum 2011
Continuing with its theme, Arab Media: Riding out Storms of Change, the concluding day of the Arab Media Forum 2011 provided some insight into how media is expected to evolve in the region following the Arab uprising. In a session entitled, Media in a Shifting Arab World, one of the key changes highlighted by the panel’s speakers was the rise of the “citizen journalist” – the concept of...
Lebanon’s Hottest New Act… Mashrou Leila
Remember the name Mashrou Leila (Overnight Project), because we guarantee this band will become a household name very soon. Dubbed Beirut’s Arabic-language rock fusion pioneers, the Lebanese seven-piece group is set to perform live in Dubai this evening — their second appearance in the emirate — and tickets are selling fast. Comprising Omaya Malaeb (keyboard), Haig Papazian (violin),...
Arabian Bytes - The Week That Was... April 14
The UAE becomes first Arab country on Twitter’s trend countries This week, Twitter announced it was expanding its local trends feature on the website, adding 70 new countries and cities to the resource – one of which is the United Arab Emirates. In a Twitter blog post, the social network revealed: We first launched Trends as a useful way for people to find out what topics...
Amr Qattamesh on winning first Arabs' Got Talent
Following months of auditions, and surviving multiple elimination rounds, Amr Qattamesh emerged as the winner of the region’s very first Arabs’ Got Talent. The Egyptian poet, whose unique approach to Arabic poetry won the hearts of millions of viewers across the region, beat eleven other finalists to win 500,000 Saudi Riyals (Dh489,708), a brand new car, as well as a contract...
Egypt to hold parliamentary polls in September →
Praying for change… :)
Majority of Egyptians vote “yes” – so what’s next?...
They came out in their millions to vote, and the result was revealed earlier this week: 77.2 per cent of Egyptian voters said “yes” to the proposed amendments to the constitution. Out of a potential 45 million eligible voters, only 18,537,954 Egyptians went ahead and made their choice. Fourteen million voted for the amendments; 4 million voted against; whilst 171,190 votes were declared...
Egyptian celebrities say “no” to the vote – Will...
In the couple of weeks leading up to yesterday’s public vote for or against the proposed amendments of Egypt’s constitution, a number of well-known faces joined forces to encourage citizens to vote. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians cast ballots on Saturday, March 19, saying “yes” or “no” to an entire package of nine proposed changes to ensure that upcoming presidential and parliamentary...
JUST SAY NO! Deep divisions over Egypt's... →
This sign in Cairo reads: “Amending the constitution means continuing Mubarak’s regime” Have you voted today? Going out to vote? You know what to say… Say no to the proposed constitution amendments Just say NO!
Music Review: 30 Seconds to Mars rocks Yas Island
Over the years, 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto has received a lot of slack as a musician for being more famous as a Hollywood actor. Some have questioned the authenticity of the band and whether “rock star” was just another one of Leto’s many roles, while other bands took to interviews or Twitter to criticise him. But after their first UAE appearance at the Flash...
INTERVIEW: Juliana Down
UAE-based rock band Juliana Down are set to open the show for Maroon 5 when they touch down in Dubai this April. The quintet, which comprises frontman Dia H; lead guitarist Sari R; bassist Andrew Gibson; keyboard player Lionel Fernandes; and drummer James Sinclair, is arguably one of the most popular homegrown bands of our time, having opened for the likes of Muse, Velvet Revolver, and The...
INTERVIEW: Maroon 5
When an artist performs in Dubai for the first time, it can result in one of two things: either you can tell they are as happy to be here as you are to see them; or they look like they can’t even be bothered to perform properly (Amy Winehouse?). Thankfully, Maroon 5 land into the first category. Following the American band’s first successful appearance in the emirate in December...
Chaos cuts cash lifeline to Egypt →
The National reporter Kareem Shaheen talks to me about the cash crisis in Egypt following the chaos of the January/February demonstrations across the country.
Egyptian Revolution: Khaled Abol Naga gets...
With millions of Egyptians protesting against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime since January 25, several high-profile names in the world of entertainment have come out to show their support. One artist who has been actively campaigning for change throughout this week is Khaled Abol Naga. The actor, producer, and director — who has also been a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador since 2007 — has...
Coming Together: Why I’m Proud to be Egyptian
As a child that had just moved to Alexandria, Egypt from the UK – with no knowledge of Arabic whatsoever – I remember constantly hearing this phrase used by Egyptians: “Iskindereya agda’a nas”. This translates into something along the lines of: “The people of Alexandria are the best [because they are the most helpful].” Fast forward 15 years or so, and it was again a phrase I always heard from...
Families caught up in Egypt protests →
A few days into the Egyptian revolution - a day after hired thugs had started to raid homes, terrorise residents…etc. to be precise - The National’s Kareem Shaheen did a story about how Egyptian residents in the UAE were feeling about the chaos. Here’s what I had to say to him. p.s. Follow Kareem at Twitter.com/kshaheen
The Arabian Bytes January Debate: Wikileaks
Less than a year ago, when Google was being forced out of China over censorship issues, US government officials and business leaders criticised the Chinese, supporting Google in moving its proxy server to Hong Kong in the name of freedom of speech. Fast forward a few months later and the US is acting just as bad as China thanks to WikiLeaks revealing the content of thousands of American...
Ramadan 2010: Top suhour deals in the UAE
Suhour is an incredibly important meal to those who fast during Ramadan, as it is eaten before sunrise, which is when the fast starts all over again. As with iftar, various restaurants across the UAE are offering suhour deals. Read on and take your pick. MEZZA HOUSE Old Town, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Open for suhour until 2am, serving traditional Levant cuisine. Prices start from Dh40. Call:...
Ramadan 2010: Top iftar offers in the UAE
Emirates 24|7 brings you a variety of iftar deals - from from the cheap and cheerful, to the extraordinarily expensive. Start at the top for the cheapest, and the further you scroll down, the bigger your bill gets. UNDER Dh100 IKEA CAFÉ Ikea, Dubai Festival Centre or Abu Dhabi Marina Mall If this isn’t a fabulous budget iftar deal, then we really don’t know what is. The Swedish furniture...
Football fans cry foul over EPL satellite deal
Football fans in the region – who use satellite TV to watch matches – have expressed their disappointment in having to fork out Dh1,000 to gain access to the English Premier League (EPL). That’s approximately Dh650 more than for cable TV users. With the EPL scheduled to begin in less than a week (August 14), fans have been rushing to obtain their subscription for Abu Dhabi Sports, which is...
Kaká confirmed as global face of Fifa 11
New endorsment deal makes it highly likely that the footballer will stay with Real Madrid for at least one more year. Footballers Kaká and Wayne Ronney have been confirmed as the new cover guys of the Fifa 11 videogame, due out later this year. Clearly the game’s manufacturer, Electronic Arts Inc, came up with those two before their shockingly poor performances at the 2010 Fifa World Cup. ...
Pill can make women less attractive: research
A word of warning to newly-wed females: choose your method of birth control wisely or risk looking less attractive to your other half. That’s what a new US study is suggesting anyway. Scientists have come up with the theory that taking certain birth control substances could make a woman less attractive to a man – no matter how sexy or beautiful she is. In the new study published by Duke...
Sky News HD launches in UAE and Middle East
One of the UK’s leading news networks has just launched its high definition channel in the Middle East. Sky News HD is now available to viewers subscribed to the Orbit Showtime Network in the region, delivering a new clear, crisp, and exciting experience for fans of the channel. According to OSN, over 50,000 premium channel subscribers are tuning into the network’s HD channels that began...
14 things to do in 14 days before Ramadan
That special time of the year is nearly here – 2 weeks to be precise. According to the Islamic calendar, the holy month of Ramadan is scheduled to begin in exactly 14 days. Depending on the sighting of the moon, the first of Ramadan, 1431 AH, will fall on August 11, 2010. Although fasting will be particularly challenging due to the summer heat, it will also bring about excitement in the form...
Running not good for you? Not true, say local...
A London-based personal trainer has been criticised after telling media that running does not have any health benefits. Greg Brookes told British newspaper The Daily Mail that running doesn’t help an individual lose weight, is bad for the joints and slows down metabolism – statements which have been slammed by Dubai-based experts. Brookes - who has a clientele ranging from celebrities and...
I smelled your perfume on the train today. At the first sign of it, a spark...
Fairouz banned from performing – ever
Fairouz has reportedly been banned from performing in Lebanon and abroad – leaving the Lebanese singer’s professional career in jeopardy. However, the news has outraged the Arab entertainment world, with many publicly supporting the star in what they are calling an “unfair” decision. According to numerous Arabic media reports, the world-renowned superstar has been prevented from performing...
The more you sit, the higher your risk of death
Hitting the gym every day might do little to decrease the risk of death if you spend the rest of your time sitting down, a new study suggests. According to research by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the time people spend sitting down is associated with an increased risk of mortality – regardless of their physical activity level. The findings – that have just been published in an early...
IVF babies at higher risk of developing cancer
Babies conceived using in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have a higher risk of developing cancer than those who were conceived naturally, new research shows. According to a study conducted in Sweden, despite the risk of developing cancer later in life being quite low, the risk was increased by 42 per cent for children conceived with IVF. “We found a roughly 50 per cent increased risk for cancer...
Smoking can alter genes to cause cancer
New research has found that exposure to cigarette smoke can harm gene expression – resulting in damaging the immune system and raising the risk of cancer, cell death and metabolic problems. In light of this new study, UAE residents who smoke are being urged to seek help on how to quit as soon as possible. The study, conducted by researchers at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research...
Egypt only Arab nation to make FIFA top 10
The Egypt national football team has moved up three places in the most recent FIFA World Ranking to number nine – making it the only Arab nation to reach the top 10 since 1998. Despite not qualifying for the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the current holders of the African Cup of Nations (ACN) – led by coach Hassan Shehata – are only one of two African teams in the top 25, the second being Ghana at...
Future of diabetes drug in doubt
Hearings continue today in the United States on whether a diabetes drug linked to heart failure should remain on the market – leaving future availability of the medication in the UAE uncertain. Avandia (scientifically known as rosiglitazone maleate) – a drug used for the treatment of type-2 diabetes – has come under fire worldwide after new independent studies revealed that it was linked to...
Controversial test could spur abortions
A controversial new over-the-counter product – allowing expectant mothers to find out the gender of their unborn baby at just 10 weeks – has gone on sale in the UAE. Interestingly, despite being allowed to be distributed in the country, it is yet to be approved by the Ministry of Health. IntelliGender is a urine-based test – similar to that of a home pregnancy kit – that apparently provides...
AEG Live joins forces with Dubai events company
AEG Live has formed a partnership with local event management company and promoter Done Events, it has been announced. In a change to AEG’s strategy in the region, the company will no longer maintain a permanent office in Dubai. Instead, AEG Middle East managing director Thomas Ovesen and his team will be joining Done Events – which is part of UAE company Arab Media Group – and will work...