Clone your camel: Beauty pageants, races spur high demand

Known as ‘ships of the desert,’ and once used for transport across the sands of the Arab Peninsula, camels are symbols of traditional Gulf culture. (AFP)
Known as ‘ships of the desert,’ and once used for transport across the sands of the Arab Peninsula, camels are symbols of traditional Gulf culture. (AFP)
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Updated 13 September 2021

Clone your camel: Beauty pageants, races spur high demand

Known as ‘ships of the desert,’ and once used for transport across the sands of the Arab Peninsula, camels are symbols of traditional Gulf culture. (AFP)
  • Camel milk is commonly found next to regular milk at supermarkets in the Gulf, while meat products such as camel carpaccio are served in fancy restaurants

DUBAI: Cloning is in high demand in the competitive world of camel beauty pageants, leaving scientists at a Dubai clinic working round the clock to produce carbon-copy beasts.
Not every animal is blessed with sought-after drooping lips and a tall, elegant neck, but technology now allows wealthy clients to replace their most beautiful camel with one just like it.
At the Reproductive Biotechnology Center, with views of the UAE city’s towering skyscrapers, scientists pore over microscopes while dozens of cloned camels roam outside.
“We have so much demand for cloning camels that we are not able to keep up,” the center’s scientific director Nisar Wani told AFP.
Beauty pageants are not the only driver of the camel cloning industry. Many customers want to reproduce racing camels, or animals that produce large amounts of milk.
But “beauty queens” are the most popular order. Gulf clients will pay between AED200,000-400,000 ($54,500-$109,000) to duplicate a dromedary.
The camels are paraded at dusty racetracks around the region and scrutinized by judges, with occasional discoveries of Botox and cosmetic fillers adding a spice of scandal to the high-stakes contests.
Saud Al-Otaibi, who runs a camel auction in Kuwait, said customers’ judgment of the animals’ looks is key to his business.
“The price of the camel is determined according to its beauty, health, and how well known the breed is,” he told AFP.
When it comes to young animals, “customers are keen on seeing the mother to determine its beauty before buying the camel,” he added.
Twelve years ago, Dubai claimed the world’s first cloned camel.
Injaz, a female whose name means achievement in Arabic, was born on April 8, 2009, after more than five years of work by Wani and others.
From the minute Injaz was born, there was no going back.
“We are now producing plenty, maybe more than 10 to 20 babies every year. This year we have 28 pregnancies (so far), last year we had 20,” Wani said with pride.
The center is churning out “racing champions, high milk-producing animals ... and winners of beauty contests called Beauty Queens,” added Wani, sitting in a lab next to the preserved body of a cloned camel in a glass container.
Known as “ships of the desert,” and once used for transport across the sands of the Arab Peninsula, camels are symbols of traditional Gulf culture.
Now, after being replaced by gas-guzzling SUVs as the main mode of transport, they are used for racing, meat and milk.
“We have cloned some she-camels that produce more than 35 liters of milk a day,” said Wani, compared to an average of five liters in normal camels.
Camel milk is commonly found next to regular milk at supermarkets in the Gulf, while meat products such as camel carpaccio are served in fancy restaurants.
With orders flying into the cloning clinics in the UAE, the only such facilities in the Gulf, scientists have developed new techniques to keep up with the pace.
Female camels only give birth to one calf every two years, including a gestation period of 13 months.
But breeding centers use a surrogacy technique to increase the number of offspring, whether from cloning or traditional breeding.

 


Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
Updated 29 sec ago

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM

Egypt will strive to help Africa recover from COVID-19: FM
  • Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries
  • FM Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties

CAIRO: Egypt will spare no effort to help African states recover from the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said at the seventh session of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.

Egypt has started locally producing China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for exporting surpluses to African countries.

Shoukry said the pandemic has impeded efforts to achieve peace and stability on the continent, and has exacerbated humanitarian crises.

It has become impossible to deal with the pandemic solely as a global health crisis, as it has affected all aspects of life, he added. 

Shoukry highlighted issues that Africa should prioritize, including developing a common vision to address shortcomings in the continent’s medical infrastructure, such as dependence on foreign medicines and vaccines.

He also noted the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism and armed conflicts in Africa by rebuilding societies that have suffered from the scourge of war and conflict.

He praised the selection of Senegal for the African Union presidency from February 2022, and expressed Cairo’s readiness to provide all forms of support to the country in light of Egypt’s experience as president of the bloc in 2019.

Shoukry handed a letter to Senegalese President Macky Sall from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi that discussed ways to strengthen bilateral ties, as well as issues of common concern.


Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
Updated 07 December 2021

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise

Egyptian, Russian navies launch joint exercise
  • Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries

CAIRO: The Egyptian and Russian navies have launched the joint exercise Friendship Bridge 4, which will last for several days in the Mediterranean.

It began with a ceremony welcoming Russian forces at the Alexandria Naval Base in the presence of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Khaled Hassan Saeed, who delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries’ navies.

Friendship Bridge 4 is part of Egypt’s plan to carry out joint military training with friendly countries.

 Meanwhile, the armed forces of Egypt and Jordan concluded their joint exercise Aqaba-6. The training, which took place in Jordan, included a joint operation to eliminate an armed terrorist outpost inside a border village, and the interception of a merchant ship.


Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
Updated 07 December 2021

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation

Beirut blast probe judge cleared to continue investigation
  • A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Tarek Bitar from questioning top officials

BEIRUT: The probe into last year’s deadly Beirut port blast has been cleared to resume after being suspended for more than a month on legal claims against its lead investigator, judge Tarek Bitar, a judicial source said.
A Beirut court rejected the last of the suits preventing Bitar from questioning top officials on Tuesday.
“They have reversed the decision that had led to the suspension of the probe and he can now resume his work for sure,” Nizar Saghieh, head of the Legal Agenda, a research and advocacy organization, told Reuters.
The resumption could be temporary should further legal complaints be filed, he said.
The investigation into the Aug. 4, 2020, blast that killed more than 215 people, injured thousands and destroyed large swathes of the city has made little headway amid pushback from powerful factions, some of whom lead smear campaigns and filed multiple suits against Bitar.
The leader of the Iranian-backed, armed Shiite Muslim political movement Hezbollah has repeatedly said he wanted Bitar removed from the case and the row over him has spilled over into government, with Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s cabinet unable to meet since Oct. 12.
Many Lebanese are angry that more than one year on from the blast no senior official has been held accountable for the country’s worst peace-time disaster as it slips into political and economic meltdown.
Bitar has sought to question senior politicians, including former ministers and members of parliament, since July but nearly all have spurned him.
He is the second judge to take charge of the investigation after a legal complaint against the partiality of his predecessor Fady Sawan saw him removed in February.


Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4
Updated 07 December 2021

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

Motorcycle explosion in southern Iraqi city kills at least 4

BASRA: At least four people were killed and 20 wounded in an explosion in Iraq's southern city of Basra, police and hospital sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Police are still investigating the cause of the blast, which took place in the city centre, near a main hospital. The explosion set fire to at least one vehicle and damaged a minibus.
One police source said that an initial investigation showed that a motorcycle rigged with explosives could have been the cause of the blast. 


UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed
Updated 07 December 2021

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed

UAE’s new 50-dirham banknote features Sheikh Zayed
  • It is the first polymer banknote to be circulated in the country
  • The current 50- dirham note will continue to be used

DUBAI: UAE rulers witnessed the launch of a new 50-dirham banknote on Tuesday, in celebration of the country’s 50th National Day. 
The initiative comes in honor of the UAE’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, and the country’s first generation of rulers to commemorate their dedication and historical role in uniting the country.
It is the first polymer banknote to be circulated in the country.
“We see in this issuance the new phase that UAE will enter, and a renewed pledge to continue its growth path. The occasion also allowed us to express our appreciation and gratitude to our founding fathers by issuing a new AED50 banknote to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of the UAE,” said Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of the UAE. 
The front of the new banknote features a portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed on the right, and the memorial picture of the founding fathers after signing the union document. 
Meanwhile, the back side includes a picture of the late Sheikh Zayed signing the union agreement as well as illustration of the Etihad Museum, which witnessed the establishment of the union and the raising of the UAE flag for the first time.
According to state news agency WAM, the new banknote will be available in Central Bank branches and ATMs ‘in the near future’.
The current 50- dirham note will continue to be used.
Polymer banknotes are said to be more durable and sustainable than traditional cotton paper banknotes, lasting two or more times longer in circulation. They can also be completely recycled, thus reducing their environmental footprint.