United Arab Emirates celebrates golden jubilee at Expo 2020 | News

The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) golden jubilee celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai kicked off today with a special opening of the portal at Sustainability Gate by members of the Emirates Writers Union.

As announced by the UAE president, sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 2021 commemorates 50 years since the founding of the UAE in 1971.

Nahla Al Mheiri, director, creative management, events and entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This initiative celebrates the writers who are part of the success of the UAE.

“They are our main resource to create our vision and our visuals at Expo 2020 – so they are part of our success.

“They are part of documenting the story of Expo.

“They write our stories and tell our stories to the world.

“Having them here on this significant day is an affirmation of the importance of culture and science.”

Writer Amna Alshamsi, said: “I am very proud to be one of the storytellers from the UAE chosen to speak on such a special day.”

Expo 2020 Dubai is offering visitors the chance to experience the United Arab Emirates golden jubilee celebrations in full glory, with free site-wide access today.

A four-day slate of world-class events and immersive Emirati experiences will mark 50 years since the founding of the nation in show-stopping style with renewed optimism for the next half century.

Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, commissioner general of Expo 2020, speaks during the UAE national day ceremony at Al Wasl

As part of the celebrations, the United Arab Emirates’ national day ceremony took place on the Stage of Nations at Al Wasl Plaza.

The show was hosted in the presence of sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, minister of tolerance and coexistence and commissioner general, Expo 2020 Dubai, and Reem Al Hashimy, minister of state for international cooperation and director general, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Also on hand were ambassadors, consuls and commissioner generals of participating countries, as well as crowds of visitors.

National day is celebrated every year to commemorate December 2nd.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan made an official speech to mark the day and said: “Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, it is with great pride that i address and embrace my fellow commissioner generals on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the United Arab Emirates.

“I am thankful that you have joined us on this momentous journey, and honoured to stand among you at this special moment in the story of our nation, a story in which you have each played a significant part.

“Together we are peers, and partners, and pioneers in overcoming shared adversity to deliver on our solemn commitment to a World Exposition that offers hope and optimism for all.”

He added: “Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, the United Arab Emirates has never wavered in the fulfilment of that promise, nor the honouring of its founding principles, prominent among them the values of tolerance and openness, the preservation of rights and the enshrining of human dignity for all.

“Our philosophy is that good neighbourliness is the basis of genuine stability, from which growth and development will necessarily flow.

“Our globalised present and increasingly interconnected future means that you are all our neighbour, a prospect that inspires us as we launch towards another half-century of peaceful, reliable, and invaluable cooperation and collaboration.”

More than 50 of the country pavilions have expressed their well-wishes to the UAE.

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Expo 2020 Dubai prepares to mark UAE golden jubilee | News

Expo 2020 Dubai will mark 50-years since the founding of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in show-stopping style with a four-day slate of world-class events and immersive experiences.

Organisers said the show comes as the country celebrates its golden jubilee with “renewed optimism for the next half century”.

Running from December 1-4, the site-wide celebration – taking each and every visitor to Expo on a journey of authentic Emirati experiences and stories – will include world-class ceremonies, exceptional musical showcases, meaningful cross-cultural conversations, culturally-fused performances and engaging exhibits.

As announced by the UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, highlights at Expo 2020 include the UAE national day, celebrated every year to commemorate December 2nd, 1971, when the UAE declared independence as a sovereign nation.

From 10:15, visitors are invited to Expo 2020’s UAE national day ceremony at Al Wasl Plaza, including the raising of the flag, high-level speeches and anthem performances by a children’s choir, concluding with an Al Azi Performance by Al Wasmi.

This will also feature alongside horses of the Dubai Police and the UAE Ministry of Interior Marching Band in the Colours of the World Parade between 12:45 and 13:15.

A gravity-defying aerial performance by Dubai Police will follow shortly after, alongside a 30-minute musical showcase by Emirati singer Fatma Zahrat Al Ain, and a jaw-dropping flyover display by the UAE Air Force aerobatics team Al Fursan.

The diamond in the crown of Expo 2020’s programming will be Al Wasl Plaza’s immersive theatrical show, Journey of the 50th.

Set to take place from December 1-4, the show will push the boundaries of what is possible in Al Wasl Plaza, featuring a blend of human performance, theatrics and the unique capabilities of the venue in a never-before-seen way.

Over 200 hundred performers including participating countries will take part of this theatrical show.

Amna Abulhoul, executive creative director, events and entertainment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “As the show unfolds, we will learn about the origins of the Emirati people, the people of this land, who follow the current of the sea, know the language of the stars and hear the wind as it speaks.

“Their true connection to the earth and how the values of our forefathers still continue to push us forward today.”

More Information

Further details on UAE National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai can be here.

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Gas prices up $1.30 over 2020 as travel rapidly increases prior to holidays

CHICAGO — As the holiday season approaches, national gas prices have surged to an average of $3.41 per gallon, an increase of $1.30 over the 2020 average at this time of year.

With many more Americans expected to hit the road for Thanksgiving, air travel is expected to increase 80 percent as well, according to AAA.

Republicans are placing blame on the Biden administration for the increases, urging him to tap into more oil reserves and adapt more friendly policies toward fossil fuel companies.

Democrats are accusing oil companies of price-gouging with the increased demand, pointing to the decreased cost of refining oil in the past year.

Local travel experts advise against traveling on the roads in the Chicago area between noon and 8 p.m. on Wednesday and after 1 p.m. on Sunday due to increased congestion on area expressways.

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Bolsonaro leads Brazil delegation to Expo 2020 | News

Brazil has presented a line-up of cultural and entertainment activities to mark its Expo 2020 national day during the visit by president Jair Bolsonaro.

The Brazilian president and first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, were welcomed by sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, commissioner general of Expo 2020 Dubai.

Bolsonaro said: “It is wonderful to be here to celebrate Brazil’s Expo 2020 national day event – it offers an amazing opportunity for Brazil to showcase itself to the world.

“This Expo is an exciting place for the 192 participating nations to unveil their latest technologies and to do business.”

He added: “We enjoy friendly relations with, and admire, the United Arab Emirates very much.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, our collaborations have managed to ensure many successes and achievements in several fields.

“We aim to continue to strengthen our relations and work together in various spheres, such as food security and technology.”

Expo 2020 visitors were treated to live performances and traditional Brazilian food at Al Wasl Plaza, the Brazil pavilion and at venues across the Expo site.

The day included a World Record attempt for the largest jiu-jitsu lesson at Jubilee Park and 13 other locations across the United Arab Emirates.

Bolsonaro also delivered a speech at a Business Forum in the morning while the First Lady attended an event at the Women’s Pavilion.

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First Home Game Since 2020 Pits NM State against Western New Mexico in 2021-22 Opener

NM State Game Notes

Opening Tip

• The New Mexico State women’s basketball team tips off the season at home against Western New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m.

2020-21 Highlights

– Finished the regular season on a three-game winning streak

Aaliyah Prince was name Second Team All-WAC and earned WAC All-Defensive Team honors.

– Took down No. 5 Seattle U in the opening round of the WAC tournament as Shania Harper posted a season-high 15 points.

• Sights on Six

NM State will seek its sixth WAC regular season title since the 2014-15 season. The Aggies are 80-18 in conference play across the past seven seasons.

Preseason Picks

• NM State was picked to finish in seventh place in the WAC Coaches’ Poll while the media selected the Aggies to land in sixth this season.

• The WAC media also selected junior guard Soufia Inoussa to the Second Team All-WAC list.

Bringing Home the Hardware

• Following her final season with the Aggies, Aaliyah Prince earned Second Team All-WAC and WAC All-Defensive Team honors. Prince finished the season ranked 11th in the league in steals per game while ranking 13th in points per game.

Scouting the Mustangs

• Western New Mexico comes into the season with a new head coach at the helm as Josh Pace took over the program on March 31, 2020 after spending last season as the associate head coach for the Mustangs.

• Western New Mexico brings an experienced group to Las Cruces as it returns 12 of its 14 letterwinners and three starters from last year’s shortened season.

• As a team, the Mustangs averaged 50.3 points per game while shooting 34.8 percent from the field. They also pulled down 39.8 rebounds per game to outrebound opponents by 1.8 rebounds per game.

• WNMU dropped its lone exhibition game to fellow WAC rival Grand Canyon, losing 56-93 in Phoenix.

Up Next

The Aggies prepare for their second home game of the opening week as they welcome Incarnate Word on Saturday, Nov. 13. Next week, the Aggies will travel down to El Paso, Texas, to meet with I-10 rival UTEP on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

++NM State++

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United Arab Emirates Air Force leads Expo 2020 display | News

The Knights, the United Arab Emirates Air Force aerobatic display team, and the Saudi Hawks, the Royal Saudi Air Force aerobatic team, have wowed the crowds with their daredevil moves above Expo 2020 Dubai.

The air shows are held in collaboration with the GCC Pavilion.

Running until March, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

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Dating scams in 2020 cost $300 million, targeted older Americans: FTC

Do you know the cost of love? OK, true love’s cost may be immeasurable, but the cost of romance scams totaled at least $304 million in 2020.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, says the Federal Trade Commission, because many victims of romance scams are embarrassed to come forward. 

One woman who did, Kate Kleinert, a widower in Pennsylvania, told the Senate Special Committee on Aging last month how she got caught up in a romance scam that cost her about $39,000 – and her pride.

After getting a friend request on Facebook in August 2020 from a man, Kleinert began corresponding with him on another app. “Tony” said he was working in Iraq on a contract with the United Nations and after he asked, she sent gift cards to him and his children.

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He planned to meet her in Philadelphia in December but didn’t show. Then someone purporting to be Tony’s lawyer called saying he needed $20,000 for Tony’s bail. “The lawyer told me to do whatever I could – put a mortgage on my house, borrow it from someone in my family,” she testified. “I couldn’t do it.”

Eventually, “I was living off my credit cards and he was getting what I took from Social Security and my pension,” she said.

Kleinert, who eventually learned the pictures sent by Tony were of a doctor in Spain, said she testified over frustration at an inability to get justice and “it’s so devastating and many people have been through this but not spoken about it.”

Romance scams continue to climb, and over the last three years people have reported losing more money on them than any other fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission. These scams, typically run on dating apps and over social media, increased among all age groups with losses of $304 million, up about 50% from 2019, the FTC says.

Age is just a number to romance scammers, who bilked older adults (aged 60-up) out of more than $139 million during 2020. That’s 65% more than in 2019, when reported losses were nearly $84 million, finds “Protecting Older Consumers, 2020-2021, A Report of the Federal Trade Commission,” released earlier this week.    

Among all scams the FTC tracks, romance scams made up the highest reported losses for those aged 60-79. And those aged 70 and older reported the highest median losses from romance scams: $9,475.80.

Opportunities for romance scammers have risen during the pandemic as older adults spent more time on social media. “It doesn’t always mean they’re looking for love, it’s that they just report that the scammer starts with an unexpected friend request or a message,” said Patti Poss, a senior attorney in the FTC’s consumer protection bureau.

“Scammers are very sophisticated. And no one should be embarrassed that this happened,” she said. “They know what they’re doing, to be able to tell these stories, develop a relationship and get people’s money. You may not think you’re sending something to a stranger because it is somebody that you think you know at that point.”

Romance scammers: How to spot them

Know where scammers lurk. Romance scammers typically create fake profiles on dating sites and apps such as Ashley Madison, Grindr, Match and Tinder. They also target users on Instagram and Facebook, the FTC says. AARP even chronicled a case where a 75-year-old woman was conned out of about $137,000 by a romance scammer she met on Words With Friends.

Scammers live where and do what? Some signs your online paramour isn’t all they propose to be include the claim that they reside outside the U.S. or are working on an oil rig, with the military, or are a doctor with an international organization.

They want to get personal – to a point. A scammer will want to connect with you off the dating site, perhaps by email, phone or text. But they don’t necessarily want to meet in person. 

Scammers eventually ask for money. After they build trust with their potential victims – to do so they may connect online several times a day, the FTC says – they may ask for money to help with an emergency such as travel, medical care or other expenses. In payment, they may ask for money to be sent by wire transfer using Western Union or MoneyGram. Bank transfers and payments accounted for nearly one-third of reported romance scam losses by older adults at $31 million, and romance scammers reportedly took another $12 million in cryptocurrency.

Credit card or gift card scams.

Many romance fraud victims said scammers used the coronavirus pandemic to explain requests for money or their inability to meet in person, the FTC says. Older adults reported losses of $10.5 million on romance scams related to COVID-19.

Cryptocurrency could come into play. The FBI has seen an increase in crimes where the romance scammer seeks to help you invest in or trade cryptocurrency. Once signed up, the victim may be able to withdraw some funds, as a sign of trust. But as bigger investments are urged – often you have to act fast, they say – all communication might break off. 

The Senate Aging Committee has a report on scams targeting seniors including romance scams on its website.

FTC tips on dealing with romance scammers 

Stop talking. If you think you may be dealing with a romance scammer stop communicating with them immediately.

Don’t give out personal information. Don’t discuss your financial status to those you don’t know or cannot trust. Do not give anyone your banking information, Social Security Number, copies of your ID or passport, or any other sensitive data.

Money changes everything. Never send funds to or trust investments suggested by someone you have solely met online.

Ask a friend or family member. Talk through the situation with someone you trust and listen to them.

Do some homework. Use Google or another search engine to see if other people have reported such scammers. For instance, type in “oil rig scammer.” You can also use the person’s photo on Google Image. Select search by image (click the little camera) and upload the person’s photo. If it appears under several names, they are likely a scammer.

Report them. You can report scammers to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Also notify the website or app where you connected with the scammer.

Gimme my money. If you paid a scammer with a gift card, contact the card issuer and tell them the situation and ask for a refund.

Prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams were the top fraud reported by adults 80 and over, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

Other scams: prizes and imposters  

Older adults also lost $69 million in 2020 from prize, sweepstakes and lottery scams (this was the top fraud reported by adults 80 and over), according to FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, a database of fraud reports filed directly by consumers and to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Business imposter scams increased from $34 million in 2019 to $65 million in 2020. Government imposter scams amounted to $58 million.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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Turkey celebrates UAE partnership at Expo 2020 | News

Tugay Tuncer, ambassador of Turkey to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), toured the Turkey pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai earlier, taking in the visitor experience and highlighting the trade and investment opportunities the mega-event will offer.

Speaking to the Expo News Service, Tuncer explained that Turkey’s participation in Expo 2020 signifies “a new era of cooperation and a strengthening relationship with the

Commissioner general of Turkey, Mukerrem Aksoy, stressed the strength of the country’s food and agriculture sectors when the world is faced with food security issues: “Turkey produces organic foods for the whole world.

“And we are ready to supply the world.”

Discussing the growing trade between the two nations, the ambassador stated: “Our trade with the UAE is at US$8.5 billion and the numbers are increasing – in the first six months we saw close to a one hundred per cent increase, and Expo 2020 will contribute to [this growth].

“It will show that we can export processed food, fruit and vegetables and construction materials, which this region needs, and which Turkey has in abundance.

“Our construction sector is the second biggest in the world.”

Expo 2020 is also expected to contribute to Turkey’s tourism sector.

The diplomat, who once worked as a tourist guide, said: “Many people earn their income from tourism, whether guides, hotel employees, or in food production or processing – the industry has many sub-products and sub-industries.

“We welcomed approximately 30 million tourists annually before Covid-19, across coastal, cultural, health and winter tourism.

“This year, we reached high numbers, despite opening to the market quite late, and it was clear that people are hungry for travel.”

Located in the Sustainability District, the Turkey pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, under the theme ‘Creating the Future from the Origin of Civilizations’, was designed to reflect the unique history of Anatolia – the cradle of civilisations, as well as to showcase nature the country’s sustainability goals.

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Expo 2020 off to quick start in Dubai | News

The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and south-Asia region is off to a great start, with Expo 2020 Dubai welcoming 411,768 ticketed visits in its first ten days.

Expo 2020 opened its doors on October 1st, and figures up to and including October 10th show that visitors belonged to 175 nationalities – not far off the 192 countries that are participating in the event, each with its own pavilion.

One in three has come from abroad, with this proportion expected to increase as international travel ramps up.

Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said: “Expo 2020 Dubai’s opening week has undoubtedly been a success.

“The numbers we are seeing are very encouraging and demonstrate the global desire for people to reconnect with each other and to imagine a better future.”

A number of ticket options are open to visitors, with multi-day and season passes proving popular.

One in five visitors have already visited expo more than once, demonstrating that one day is not enough to enjoy the diverse and dynamic array of activities and entertainment on offer.

Reem Al Hashimy, director general, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are very happy with this wonderful turnout.

“The numbers achieved in the first ten days reflect the enthusiasm of the world to attend Expo 2020 Dubai.

“The coming days and weeks will be full of special events offering a visitor experience that will be rich, purposeful and entertaining, and we look forward to welcoming many more people from around the world.”

The figures include all physical ticket-holders.

They exclude representatives, delegations and guests of international participants, partners and other stakeholders, as well as expo staff.

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Turkmenistan celebrates national day at Expo 2020 | News

Turkmenistan has celebrated its national day at Expo 2020 with a flag-raising ceremony at the stage of nations in Al Wasl Plaza, followed by speeches and cultural performances.

Turkmenistan president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, attended the event, before touring the Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates pavilions with his delegation.

Visitors to the Turkmenistan pavilion, located in the Mobility District, are greeted by a majestic fountain sculpture featuring five Akhal-Teke horses at the entrance.

The animals are a native symbol of national pride.

Under the theme ‘Homeland of Peace and Trust’, the pavilion showcases Turkmenistan’s historical, cultural and industrial achievements.

The nation’s agricultural connections are represented by digital images of wheat and cotton crops, moving and growing in response to touch.

National and honour days at Expo 2020 Dubai are moments to celebrate each of Expo’s 200-plus international participants, shining a light on their culture and achievements and showcasing their pavilions and programming.

Running until the end of March, Expo 2020 has invited visitors from across the planet to join the making of a new world in a six-month celebration of human creativity, innovation, progress and culture.

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