Norway happiest place on Earth

Norway has displaced Denmark as the happiest country. (AP)
Updated 21 March 2017
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Norway happiest place on Earth

NEW YORK: Norway displaced Denmark as the world’s happiest country in a new report released on Monday that called on nations to build social trust and equality to improve the wellbeing of their citizens.
The Nordic nations are the most content, according to the World Happiness Report 2017 produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative launched by the UN in 2012.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the UN.
“Happy countries are the ones that have a healthy balance of prosperity, as conventionally measured, and social capital, meaning a high degree of trust in a society, low inequality and confidence in government,” Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the SDSN and a special adviser to the UN secretary-general, said in an interview.
The aim of the report, he added, is to provide another tool for governments, business and civil society to help their countries find a better way to wellbeing.
Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden rounded out the top 10 countries.
South Sudan, Liberia, Guinea, Togo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Central African Republic were at the bottom.
Germany was ranked 16, followed by the UK (19) and France (31). The US dropped one spot to 14.
Sachs said the US is falling in the ranking due to inequality, distrust and corruption. Economic measures that the administration of President Donald Trump is trying to pursue, he added, will make things worse.
“They are all aimed at increasing inequality — tax cuts at the top, throwing people off the health care rolls, cutting Meals on Wheels in order to raise military spending. I think everything that has been proposed goes in the wrong direction,” he explained.
The rankings are based on six factors — per capita gross domestic product, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, social support and absence of corruption in government or business.
“The lowest countries are typically marked by low values in all six variables,” said the report, produced with the support of the Ernesto Illy Foundation.
Sachs would like nations to follow UAE and other countries that have appointed Ministers of Happiness.

 


Russian Slava brings on his clowning in sell-out show in Saudi Arabia

The Tickets for the first performance of ‘Slava’s Snow Show’ in Dhahran were sold out on Thursday. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 13 min 57 sec ago
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Russian Slava brings on his clowning in sell-out show in Saudi Arabia

  • The 900-seat theater at Ithra was sold out for the first performance for “Slava’s Snow Show” in Saudi Arabia
  • The show has scooped 23 awards internationally including London’s Time Out Best Show of the Year

DHAHRAN: The Kingdom is staging the global hit “Slava’s Snow Show” at Ithra’s theater in Dhahran in October as part of the “Tanween” season exploring creativity in art, music, theater, science, literature, cultural heritage and entrepreneurship through a wide range of talks, shows and workshops from all around the world.
“Slava’s Snow Show” was created over 20 years ago in Moscow by the Russian-born artist Slava Polunin, who was inspired by Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin. The show has toured more than 120 cities with more than 7,000 performances in different famous stages and theaters around Europe, America, and Asia. It has been seen by 7 million people worldwide.
The show has scooped 23 awards internationally including London’s Time Out Best Show of the Year and the Drama Desk Awards Exceptional Theatre Project in New York where the show was performed on Broadway.
The 900-seat theater at Ithra was sold out for the first performance for “Slava’s Snow Show” in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, which played to an excited house of all ages. Performances will be held at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran, on Oct. 20, 23, 24 and 26. Slava explained the message behind the show to Arab News. “We aim to demonstrate the Russian art to the Saudi audience,” he said.
He was delighted by the reception at the first performance in the Kingdom. “The audience was wowed. I could see their gasps as I performed. Their fascination showed us how highly they appreciate arts. It is indeed our first time in Saudi Arabia and it won’t be the last.”
During the show Slava takes on many different personas, both cheerful and miserable. His repertoire is more diverse than the two common clowning styles — Auguste and the White Clown. He also invites the audience to interact with him during the show.
"We work to deliver our shows here in Saudi exactly as they are delivered in Russia.”
Slava added: “The theater in Russia is an essential part of the Russian culture and identity and having such shows and performances in Ithra particularly and in Saudi Arabia generally is part of the intercultural relationship between Saudi and Russia.”
When asked about the difficulties that faces this kind of art in theater, Slava said: “The only challenge that we encounter is the traveling exhaustion and that is it.”
“Tanween” events are being held until Oct. 27.