Um Ruqaiba camel pageant winners awarded prizes

Updated 05 January 2013
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Um Ruqaiba camel pageant winners awarded prizes

Prince Mishaal, chairman of the Allegiance Council, yesterday distributed King Abdul Aziz prize to the top winners of a major camel pageant at Um Ruqaiba, a desert area 350 km northeast of Riyadh.
Addressing the concluding ceremony, Prince Mishaal thanked God for the quick recovery of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah following a back surgery. “It marks a festival for Saudis,” he added.
About 16,500 camels from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries took part in the event, one of the region’s largest camel beauty contests.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prince Saud bin Mishaal, vice chairman of the organizing committee, thanked Prince Mishaal for gracing the occasion.
He commended Prince Mishaal’s continuous support to the contest. “This is one of the major annual festivals in the Kingdom,” he said. “Thanks to the wide media coverage, the whole world now knows about this camel pageant,” the vice chairman said.
He praised camel owners in the Gulf countries for showing keen interest in the pageant.
Organizers said 16,539 male and female camels had been booked for the contest, which attracted camel owners from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar.
Around 393 camel owners from Saudi Arabia are taking part in the event while there are five from the UAE, 36 from Kuwait and 26 from Qatar, said Prince Saud.
Thousands of people, including a large number of expatriates, flocked to Um Ruqaiba every day to watch the contest while deals worth hundreds of millions of riyals involving sales of camels were conducted every day.
Besides camels, a massive bazaar was held with the setting up of restaurants and furnished tents for the participants and guests. The camel beauty pageant was once a local desert custom that has now transformed into a competition, which is worth millions of Saudi riyals in prizes, and can transform the camel owners into celebrities. Both male and female camels participate in the pageant where a camel’s beauty is assessed based on “the size of its head; whether its lips cover its teeth, the length of its neck and the roundness of its hump.”
Saudi Arabia has about 870,000 camels while the UAE has nearly 378,000 and Oman 124,000. The camel wealth is much smaller in Kuwait and Qatar.


Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

Updated 15 August 2018
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Dog Day Afternoon: When Pacino showed the range of a true master

  • Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank
  • Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism

DUBAI: Once upon a time in Hollywood, Al Pacino’s name was not a byword for lukewarm thrillers or lackluster dramas. In possession of one of the most bankable faces in the movies, Pacino has a reputation that rests largely on just two roles: Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972) and Tony Montana in “Scarface” (1983) – two iconic gangsters whose ruthless, brutish shadows obscure the riches they bookend.

Because Pacino’s script-screening was once judiciously discerning – if not always impeccable – throughout the 1970s, he acted in just eight films. Labors of love, not bottom-line negotiations, these heyday performances were rooted in compulsive zeal, obsessive research and an adherence to Stanislavski’s method system.

The complacency of contemporary Pacino sometimes feels like an insult to this golden run, and at its glorious centerpiece stands “Dog Day Afternoon” – a film which proved defiantly that there is so much more to Pacino than cold and steely or loud and shouty.

Under the nuanced gaze of Sidney Lumet – who directed Pacino two years earlier as the idealistic New York cop in the classic “Serpico” – the 1975 Oscar-winner was a triumph of tone, texture and pacing. And in nearly every frame, Pacino’s presence pulsates with magnetic charisma.

Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, an effeminate outcast who desperately, brazenly – and really quite ineffectually – holds up a penniless Brooklyn bank alongside troubled friend Sal (fellow “Godfather” star John Cazale). Soon after the cops, the TV cameras arrive, and while he is claustrophobically holed up with his sympathetic hostages, Sonny’s unconventional backstory unravels out into the open.

As the spotlight is thrust onto a dysfunctional wife and lover, curious crowds descend on the scene. Emerging to collect a pizza delivery or goad the cops, cornered Wortzik becomes an unlikely folk hero, leading the simmering masses against authoritarianism.

This remarkable turn of events was based on a real failed heist of just three years earlier. The movie was nominated for six Oscars. Frank Pierson’s script won Original Screenplay. Meanwhile, Pacino – also up against Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Robert Redford – lost out on the Best Actor gong to Jack Lemmon for “Save the Tiger.” That roll call alone is a testament to how far Hollywood has climbed, crawled and plunged.