Landmarks in UAE and Egypt light up in support of Lebanon

The Pyramids of Giza in Cairo lit up with images of the Lebanese flag. File/Twitter
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Updated 05 August 2020

Landmarks in UAE and Egypt light up in support of Lebanon

DUBAI: More than 100 people were killed and thousands were injured on Tuesday when a massive explosion ripped through the port area of Beirut. The mushroom-shaped blast sent shockwaves throughout the capital, destroying homes, offices and other structures, and was heard as far away as Cyprus in the Mediterranean. The cause of the horrifying explosion is currently being linked to the presence of ammonium nitrate, of which 2,750 tonnes had been stored at the port for six years without safety measures in place.

In a short televised speech Prime Minister Hassan Diab appealed to all countries and friends of Lebanon to extend help to the small nation, saying: “We are witnessing a real catastrophe.”

An outpouring of thoughts, prayers, and resources in the form of monetary and humanitarian aid have flooded in from around the world as the people of Beirut solemnly commence a three day period of national mourning.

Across the region, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo lit up with images of the Lebanese flag in a bid to express support for the people of Lebanon. 

“#BurjKhalifa lights up in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in #Lebanon,” read the caption under the image posted by the landmark’s Instagram page.

Meanwhile Toronto dimmed the lights on its 3D signboard to mourn the victims of the tragic event. 

Leaders around the world have also expressed their sympathy for Beirut and the tragedy that occurred on Tuesday evening. 

In a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that they stood in solidarity with the “brotherly Lebanese people,” and were “following with great concern the repercussions of the explosion that occurred.” 

The UAE’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed wrote on Twitter:  “We pray that God grants you patience and solace. God bless Lebanon and the Lebanese people.” 


Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

Updated 21 September 2020

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

DUBAI: The search for global music group Now United’s newest member is finally over. Enter Nour Ardakani, the 18-year-old singer from Lebanon, who is set to become the band’s 16th member – and first Arab – after an extensive, months-long search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who founded popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

“I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United,” Fuller told the singer and dancer in a video call.

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

The singer, who currently resides in Beirut with her family, joins fellow group for the band’s latest single “Feel It Now.”

Founded in 2017, the multinational music group announced in November last year that they were looking for a new member from the MENA region.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nour Ardakani (@noursmusicdiary) on

Out of thousands of hopefuls in the Middle East and North Africa, 13 were shortlisted and invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller. Eventually, it came down to Ardakani and a 15-year-old Emirati singer, Alya Al-Ali.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of Now United’s song “Habibi.”