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Nico De Corato known as Abu Yasmine, is an Italian who lives in Dubai. He is the founder of DubaiBlog, and had promised to complete a great undertaking to celebrate the UAE National Day: a 140 km solo run to reach the Jumeirah Union Flag, the largest UAE flag in the world.
Finally, he kept this great promise, in fact it took Nico de Corato just over twenty-three hours to finish the unique single stage solo run, which began at Bab Al Shams resort in al Qudra and ended at the iconic Union Flag of Jumeirah, where he was greeted by friends, family and supporters.

While many in the region relaxed over the long weekend, Nico completed this 140km run to celebrate the 47th UAE National Day, despite suffering from severe pain in his right knee that required use of ice packs to reduce the swelling.
During an interview to Sport360 ahead of the event, the Italian said, “People say I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but it’s my way to celebrate what a great country we live in. I like associating the place with sport and not just the skyscrapers most people see. I am deliberately passing through the natural landscapes then along to the modern city.”

Nico has experience with long distance running. In 2015 he completed a 100km solo run along a route from the Meydan Hotel leading to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort.
To get in peak condition this time around he has been in constant training over the last three years and began to turn his focus to this particular run a few months ago.
“You have to consider the balanced diet and also your sleep pattern,” he said. “I have been training myself to stay awake. Running a distance like this is more of a mental game than physical.”
Fittingly, the challenge ended next to the world’s biggest Emirati flag located inside the Etihad Museum, as the UAE celebrated the National Day over a long weekend.

The event was supported by the Dubai Sports Council and logistics and traffic were facilitated by the RTA and Dubai Police.

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Nico De Corato known as Abu Yasmine, is an Italian who lives in Dubai. He is the founder of DubaiBlog, and had promised to complete a great undertaking to celebrate the UAE National Day: a 140 km solo run to reach the Jumeirah Union Flag, the largest UAE flag in the world.
Finally, he kept this great promise, in fact it took Nico de Corato just over twenty-three hours to finish the unique single stage solo run, which began at Bab Al Shams resort in al Qudra and ended at the iconic Union Flag of Jumeirah, where he was greeted by friends, family and supporters.

While many in the region relaxed over the long weekend, Nico completed this 140km run to celebrate the 47th UAE National Day, despite suffering from severe pain in his right knee that required use of ice packs to reduce the swelling.
During an interview to Sport360 ahead of the event, the Italian said, “People say I’m crazy, and maybe I am, but it’s my way to celebrate what a great country we live in. I like associating the place with sport and not just the skyscrapers most people see. I am deliberately passing through the natural landscapes then along to the modern city.”

Nico has experience with long distance running. In 2015 he completed a 100km solo run along a route from the Meydan Hotel leading to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort.
To get in peak condition this time around he has been in constant training over the last three years and began to turn his focus to this particular run a few months ago.
“You have to consider the balanced diet and also your sleep pattern,” he said. “I have been training myself to stay awake. Running a distance like this is more of a mental game than physical.”
Fittingly, the challenge ended next to the world’s biggest Emirati flag located inside the Etihad Museum, as the UAE celebrated the National Day over a long weekend.

The event was supported by the Dubai Sports Council and logistics and traffic were facilitated by the RTA and Dubai Police.

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Pope Francis will visit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates in February to attend an interfaith meeting, it was announced in Abu Dhabi and the Vatican City on Thursday.
The Vatican said the pope had accepted an invitation from His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and the Catholic community there.

More than one million Roman Catholics and other Christian expatriates living in the UAE are excited on the first visit of Pope Francis to the UAE in February.
The UAE is home to over 40 churches, substantially more centres of worship than all the other GCC countries combined. This historic visit, the first to a GCC member country, will take place from February 3 to 5.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed the news with a tweet.

“We welcome the news of Pope Francis’ visit to the United Arab Emirates next February, a visit that will strengthen our ties and understanding of each other, enhance interfaith dialogue and help us to work together to maintain and build peace among the nations of the world,” he tweeted. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed has also tweeted welcoming the visit of the pope to the UAE.

“The UAE is delighted to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis on the upcoming visit to the UAE. He is a symbol of peace, tolerance and the promotion of brotherhood. We look forward to a historic visit, through which we will seek dialogue on the peaceful coexistence among peoples,” he tweeted.
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, tweeted: “We have the honour to welcome His Holiness Pope Francis, Pope of Peace, Love, and Knight of the Human Brotherhood on the land of love and tolerance of the UAE.”

It is estimated that there are over one million Roman Catholics and other Christians in the UAE, most of them guest workers from other countries. The majority of these Christians are Catholics, and there are seven Catholic churches in the country.
Shaikh Abdullah stressed its importance and expressed the appreciation of the UAE government and people, saying that it would build stronger ties of friendship and cooperation between the UAE and the Vatican. The Pope’s visit, Shaikh Abdullah said, is in accordance with the UAE’s policy and efforts, under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to establish and support strong foundations of brotherhood and peaceful coexistence, both regionally and globally.

“Pope Francis’ acceptance of the UAE invitation strengthens these efforts and will further promote interfaith dialogue,” he added.
Shaikh Abdullah said there are significant and sincere international efforts to establish initiatives and movements that can contribute towards the deepening of global human relations based on the principles of tolerance and coexistence. “This was of benefit both to nations and to peoples,” he said.
Tolerance, mutual respect and cooperation are key values of the UAE — a nation keenly interested in building humankind, creating harmony among different segments of society.
The UAE also promotes respect for cultural diversity and rejecting violence, extremism and racism.

Greg Burke, Director of the press office of the Holy See, said, “The theme of the visit is ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace’, and that’s the Pope’s intention in going to the United Arab Emirates. How all people of goodwill can work for peace will be a major topic on this trip”.
“This visit shows the fundamental importance the Holy Father gives to inter-religious dialogue. Pope Francis visiting the Arab world is a perfect example of the culture of encounter.”

The UAE remains on the forefront of efforts aimed at achieving interaction among all religions and promoting values of tolerance, love and peace across the world.

 (CNS photo/Clausio Peri, EPA)

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Some say that living in Dubai is not good and that this city it is a horrible place to live.
This claim, of course, depends only on one’s personal point of view, and it is exaggerated in all cases. In fact, people of different nationalities live and work in Dubai and like very much this cosmopolitan metropolis.

Dubai is not perfect, yet and after all, there is no perfect city in the world
Some state that Dubai is only an artificial city, with big skyscrapers and the largest shopping centres in the world.
The definition of artificial city can’t be accepted since all cities in the world have been constructed by man. For instance, all the monuments in Paris, Rome and London have been built by man and where before those constructions there was nothing.

Another question that can be argued regards people from poorer countries and backgrounds, that come to live in Dubai and work as labourers. Usually, they live in terrible conditions such as 10 people in one apartment and work for very low wages. This is partly true, but one has to consider that these people in their country have no roof over their head, they have no jobs, no food. Yet, and regardless of how little their wages are, these workers can earn money in Dubai and can even save some to support their families.

The first reason for which one may not like about Dubai is that this city has lost completely its own identity. In fact, Dubai has grown very quickly with the desire to be an ultramodern and futuristic city always first in the world, thus cancelling all its traditions. For instance, it might be a challenge to find typical Emirati restaurants in Dubai. Such restaurants do exist, but they are quite few in number and hidden in the different corners of the city. This happens not for the lack of an Emirati traditional cuisine but only because people tend to cancel the past and the traditions, and give more importance to modernity. This is not very good, because traditions are to be always appreciated and preserved and are part of the cultural heritage. The situation is quite different in the other emirates such as Abu Dhabi, where it is easier to perceive the cultural heritage.

The second reason you may not like about Dubai, is that it is difficult to have relationships with people. This happens because most of the people know that they will remain in Dubai for short time: one-two years maximum and not for ever. Besides, due to the fact that people with high level jobs have a lot of benefits, allowances and high salaries and live therefore in excellent conditions, there is no need for them to develop relationships. The situation is quite different in Abu Dhabi where the conditions for expatriates are less favourable and they have less things to do, which leads to the need of creating a community.

The third reason is the traffic congestion in Dubai, especially during the rush hours, which may make people nervous and exhausted especially when the traffic is very slow and people have to spend long time queuing.
The road infrastructures are awfully designed and have a lot of unsignalled exits which makes it easy to choose the wrong exit sometimes. Driving for ten minutes to make a U-turn is not uncommon. One has just to hope to take the right entrance to the freeway because they are not numbered. Miss it and you’ll likely end up on the other side of town before you are able to turn around and go back.

The fourth reason is that in Dubai you can live and work for a long time but you will never get the Emirati citizenship. You will remain an expatriate for ever and you should always renew your residency visa.

The fifth reason is that the cost of living in Dubai is very high. This is the case anyhow in all the big cities in the world.  Prices are very high in some sectors such as for instance in the catering, which is not justified, considering the quality of the services. Even fine restaurants may not have the right price-quality ratio.

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Dubai has made a huge name for itself as the top business destination in the entire Middle East. Most tourists visiting Dubai and the rest of the Emirates should know that gambling is not allowed nor is the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public.  Dubai’s laws, which are based on Islamic law, forbids any form of gambling or betting. Casinos do exist in the Middle East and are located in other Muslim countries such as Lebanon and Egypt which offer gold-star service.

The law is also applicable to cruise ships docking at the port, and even they have to suspend all gambling and casino activities on-board till they have cleared UAE waters and are back in international waters. It is illegal to place bets or gamble online in Dubai, and websites offering such services are blocked as well.

Even though Dubai hosts the most extravagant and luxurious horse races, it is illegal to bet on horses in there. Currently, there are four race courses in the UAE, Jebel Ali, Meydan, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.
Tourists often wonder if they can place bets during the Dubai World Cup held at Meydan Racecourse. However, it is illegal to place bets during those races.

A senior executive from the Accor Hospitality group suggested that Dubai can increase the revenue of its hospitality sector by introducing casinos.
Some International Groups are investing in Dubai to open big resorts. In particular, a mega project which foresees the construction of a big hotel with 1,000 rooms and 10 villas along the longest stretch of coast.

Dubai is a tolerant and open-minded Emirate with a tourism able to attract at least 20 million people, which may suggest that one day the government will allow the opening of casinos in some big five star hotels or resorts, where usually the consumption of alcoholic drinks is allowed.

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In the year 2005 two businessmen, one based in Sweden and the second in Switzerland, who had never dealt with book investment, had the brilliant idea of opening a company dealing with audiobooks and e books, called BOKilUr.
In the year 2007 the company’s name was changed to Storytel. Storytel entered in the stock market following its merger with Massolit Förlagsgrupp in 2015. The new business started to be successful, holding a market cap of more than USD 100 million.

The Storytel Group today focuses on two major businesses Streaming and Publishing Streaming, a subscription-based service, offers audiobooks and e-books under the Storytel brand, while the publishing houses Norstedts Förlagsgrupp (SE), People´s Press (DK), Rubinstein (Holland) and Storytel Publishing (Global) operate under the Publishing business.

Storytel’s provides a platform that allows authors to share their audiobooks with a wide range of audiences. Moreover, combination of streaming and publishing services also enable authors to publish audiobooks through partnerships with publishing companies such as Storyside in Sweden and Rubinstein Audio in Holland.

The group has entered in the fertile Middle East market which has a high smartphone penetration rate in the world, easy access to online payments, and successful online video and music subscription services. Storytel Arabia has introduced over 600 Arabic titles in audio for the first time, with over 5,000 listening hours, in a big step forward for the Arabic audiobook industry.  A rich catalogue of Arabic and English audiobooks is now available, including bestselling books in both fiction and non-fiction categories, to book lovers in the United Arab Emirates and other parts of the Arab region.

The Company intends to reach 1000 titles before the end of 2018 and create local language audio books wherever possible, promoting and contributing to the Arabic language and literature.
Storytel Arabia is the first audiobook subscription service in the Middle East region that offers audiobooks in both Arabic and English audiobooks. The company is also a creator of original audiobook content, with direct access to authors and publishers therefore.

The Arabic audiobook industry is at its very early stages. There are very few professionally produced Arabic audiobooks titles, Storytel is getting lots of people in the region to enjoy the experience of audiobooks with the launch of its service in the Emirates. It is expected that this will allow the entire local audiobook industry to grow very fast.

                   foto by Storytel

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Dubai CommerCity, is the first free zone dedicated to e-commerce and it is strategically planned to promote Dubai’s position as a leading hub for international e-commerce and to support economic diversification in the area. This project provides fertile environment to attract more direct foreign investments in line with Dubai Plan 2021, which aims to create a unique and sustainable economy based on innovation.

Investors who intend to start-up a business in this free-zone, can enjoy huge benefits such as no taxes, no restrictions on currencies and capital movements, 100% company ownership without local partners.
The new free zone is strategically located near the Dubai International Airport. It provides direct access for e-commerce stakeholders in the Mena and South Asia regions. Investors can benefit from the strategic location close to Dubai Airport, which gives them the opportunity to reach more than 2.4 billion people within five hours.

The Dh.2.7-bilion project is a joint venture between Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA) and the Wasl Asset Management Group and is spread out on an area of 2.1-million square feet. According to a recent statement this project has also seen an increase in the total leasable area by 32.5%.
Construction on the world’s first e-commerce-dedicated free trade zone, Dubai CommerCity, will begin next year. The project will be delivered in two phases. Phase 1 will be completed by 2020. Phase 2 will follow the year after.

According to estimates, the e-commerce market is expected to reach $20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) in 2020 in the GCC area (Gulf Cooperation Council).
Over the next five years, the e-commerce sector is projected to account for 10 per cent of the Emirate of Dubai’s retail sales.
The GCC is expected to contribute 43% by 2022 from the Middle East and Africa e-commerce retail market, led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest and fastest growing markets.

UAE’s e-commerce sector is estimated to reach $10 billion by 2018. This growth, according to the analysts, is due mainly to the young population in the region, with high penetration rates of internet, smart mobile phones and the use of social media.
Dubai CommerCity is aimed primarily at global and regional manufacturers, distributors and global and regional e-retailers, as well as ecosystem companies in the e-commerce industry such as e-payment gateway companies, internet service providers and others.

Dubai always moves towards innovation!

              Photo: Masaader news

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