Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji dazzles Riyadh with majestic voice

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Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji worked up her fans with beautiful songs at the all-female concert in Riyadh on Wednesday. (AN photo)
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Updated 07 December 2017
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Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji dazzles Riyadh with majestic voice

RIYADH: For the first time in the Saudi capital, an all-female concert took place late Wednesday.
The performance by Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji was sold out days before she took to a Riyadh stage.
Many excited attendees of all ages attended a packed King Fahad Cultural Center. The environment was electric with enthusiasm.
Nujood Mohammed, a translator and fan of Hiba, came alone to attend the concert. “The organizing was amazing, and I just love Hiba!”
There were many groups of young ladies attending together to enjoy the concert.
Ibtisam Mohammed commented: “This is my first time to attend a concert in Riyadh.”
When entering the lobby to the music hall, the audience was greeted with the enchanting sounds of a young pianist, Eman Gusti, playing Beethoven’s “Fur Elize.”
A college-going English literature student, Gusti took up playing the piano as a hobby and now plays professionally. This was her first time to play in front of an audience, an enchanting prequel to the excitement that lay ahead.
The event was well organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA).
Batool Ali, a local organizer, was making sure that the guests were satisfied with their seats, taking feedback and comments from the guests on how to improve future events.
Ghala Al-Dossary was the opening act, playing a serene oud to the music of Um Kalthoum, as she had the audience entranced with her great talent.
Before the curtain was drawn, a short introduction was projected on a large screen. Everything went dark and quiet. Then Tawaji entered, and the crowds screamed; she calmed them down with a welcoming Arabic endearment, “Ya zeinkom.”
The night began with Tawaji playing famous Arabic tunes but after three songs, she dedicated a song to all the divas, mentioning Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. She then started to sing English-language songs. The crowd cheered and clapped along.
Tawaji dedicated a song to the late Italian/Egyptian singer Dalida, before singing her song “Helwa ya balidi.”


UK slams Russian pranksters over Boris Johnson ‘Armenia’ call

Updated 24 May 2018
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UK slams Russian pranksters over Boris Johnson ‘Armenia’ call

LONDON: Britain’s Foreign Office on Thursday criticized “childish” Russian pranksters who phoned Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson posing as the leader of Armenia.
The Guardian newspaper said that Johnson was called by Alexei Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, known as Lexus and Vovan.
One pretended to be new Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, and the newspaper said that Johnson spoke to them for 18 minutes, discussing topics including the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.
A recording of the call, said to have taken place last week, was posted on YouTube.
In the recording, Johnson says Britain is “almost 100 percent sure” President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin ordered the attack on Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Moscow denies involvement in the incident, which has sparked a crisis in UK-Russia relations.
Johnson is also heard lamenting the poor state of UK relations with Russia, saying Moscow seems “unable to resist malign activity of one kind or another.”
The Foreign Office said Johnson “realized it was a hoax, and ended the call. We checked it out and knew immediately it was a prank call.”
“The use of chemical weapons in Salisbury and Syria and recent events in Armenia are serious matters,” it said in a statement. “These childish actions show the lack of seriousness of the caller and those behind him.”
Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said “obviously this shouldn’t have happened,” and announced there would be a government investigation into how the hoaxers got through to Johnson.
Britain suspects the comedy duo have backing from the Kremlin.
Stolyarov and Kuznetsov, who have fooled high-profile victims around the world, have denied links to Russia’s security services. In 2015, they phoned Elton John pretending to be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had criticized the leader.