UN envoy holds ‘fruitful’ talks with Yemen Houthi chief

Martin Griffiths, the UN special envoy for Yemen, speaks during a press conference in the Yemeni capital Sanaa's international airport prior to his departure on July 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 04 July 2018
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UN envoy holds ‘fruitful’ talks with Yemen Houthi chief

  • Griffiths said he would brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on his latest talks in Yemen
  • In the coming days, the UN envoy is to meet President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi

The UN envoy for Yemen said Wednesday he had held “fruitful” talks with Houthi leader Abdulmalik Al-Houthi in his bid to avert all-out fighting for the strategic port city of Hodeida.
“I’m greatly reassured by the messages I have received, which have been positive and constructive,” Martin Griffiths told reporters at Sanaa airport after two days of talks in the rebel-held capital.
“I’m especially thankful to Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, whom I met yesterday, for his support and the fruitful discussion we held.”
Griffiths said he would brief the UN Security Council on Thursday on his latest talks in Yemen.
In the coming days, the UN envoy is to meet President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.
“All parties have not only underscored their strong desire for peace but have also engaged with me on concrete ideas for achieving peace,” Griffiths said.
Hodeida is the latest battleground in the Yemeni conflict, which has killed nearly thousands of people since 2015 and pushed the country to the brink of famine.
The Red Sea port provides a lifeline for the 22 million Yemenis dependent on humanitarian aid and is also the point of entry for three-quarters of the country’s commercial imports.
The government and its allies in a regional coalition accuse the Iran-backed militia of receiving smuggled weapons through Hodeida and have demanded their unconditional withdrawal from the city, which they have held since 2014.


Seeing is disbelieving: Inside Dubai’s Museum of Illusions

Updated 5 min 34 sec ago
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Seeing is disbelieving: Inside Dubai’s Museum of Illusions

  • “We purposely trick the eye and the mind — you get to experience different visuals.” Mohammed Ali Al-Wahaibi
  • Dubai’s newest entertainment offering has only been open for just over a week but is already earning a reputation as the city’s latest Instagram hotspot

Dubai: Dubai’s newest entertainment offering has only been open for just over a week but is already earning a reputation as the city’s latest Instagram hotspot. This is hardly surprising, because otherwise the Museum of Illusions would not be living up to its name — it is, after all, dedicated to tricking the mind into seeing something that is not there.
But even if you are more “anti-influencer” than “die-hard Insta-storyteller,” that is okay – there is plenty for everyone to enjoy. Key exhibits to look out for include the Vortex Tunnel, the Ames room, the Head on a Platter and the Rotated Room.
Not for the nausea-inclined, the spinning Vortex Tunnel tricks you into thinking the walkway is rotating thanks to a clever setup, while the Ames Room, is a distorted space that makes it appear that you have grown into a giant or shrunk down to become a tiny person. The Head on a Platter is seemingly a favorite with kids, who think it is hilarious that their head can be served up for lunch.
The Rotated Room is one of the most photo-friendly attractions, offering an opportunity to get creative and show your friends and family that you are dancing on the ceiling, just like Lionel Richie did in the music video to his 1986 hit of that name, which was filmed using a similar set-up.
The Dubai venue is the ninth Museum of Illusion worldwide, the latest addition to a brand that launched three years ago in Zagreb, Croatia. Since then, the franchise has spread to a number of countries across Europe, and has been brought to the UAE, Oman and Malaysia by businessman Mohammed Ali Al-Wahaibi.
“I purchased the museum’s rights for the Middle East, and we have been setting up,” he said. “It’s a mix of entertainment and education, and it’s a unique experience that’s fun for the senses.
“We’re adding value to the endless options here (in Dubai). The museum examines the relationship between the eye and the mind. We purposely trick the eye and the mind – you get to experience different visuals.”
Suitable for everyone from the age of three and up, the UAE’s newest entertainment offering features a mix of attractions that are fun for adults and others that are more suitable for the little ones. One of the best things about the exhibits is that most of them are interactive. There are photos, puzzles, games and plenty of “magic” to discover – 80 illusions in total.
“You are part of the illusion, you’re not just a spectator,” explained Al-Wahaibi. “That makes it a lot of fun. We’ve been advising visitors that it takes an hour [to see everything] but they have been staying longer and really enjoying it.”
Located in Al Seef, one of the emirate’s newest developments, tucked behind Dubai Creek, the Dubai venue is the biggest Museum of Illusions to date, “which speaks to the high standards of the emirate,” Al-Wahaibi said. “We wanted to bring an offering that suited the high expectations of visitors. Each museum is designed based on its location, and we’re attracting both tourists and local residents.”
If you want to experience the museum’s fun exhibits but will not be in Dubai any time soon, you will soon get the chance, as the next venue to open will be in Riyadh.
“The Kingdom is a big country and so we wanted it to be one of the first to launch,” Al-Wahaibi said. “The museum is very family oriented and fits well.”
The Museum of Illusions in Dubai is open every day from 10 a.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults and $16 for children. Visit museumofillusions.ae for more details.