Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off with star-studded Opening Ceremony

Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off with star-studded Opening Ceremony
A night view of the Terra-Sustainability Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 site. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 October 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off with star-studded Opening Ceremony

Expo 2020 Dubai kicks off with star-studded Opening Ceremony
  • The Opening Ceremony will be streamed live to more than 430 locations across the UAE as well as around the globe

DUBAI: After a year’s delay, Dubai’s Expo 2020 finally opens its doors tonight with a star-studded ceremony held before an audience of 3,000 people.

The opening ceremony will feature top acts including world-famous tenor Andrea Bocelli; Grammy-nominated, Golden-Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day; platinum-selling British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding; international mega-star pianist Lang Lang; and four-time Grammy winner Angelique Kidjo.

The Opening Ceremony will be streamed live to more than 430 locations across the UAE as well as around the globe.

The Expo 2020 Dubai was due to open at the same time last year but was postponed because of the global Covid pandemic.

“There have been many challenges for us along the way building the ceremony but we are very lucky to have the most amazing venue and I’m also positive to deliver our ceremony.” Kate Randall the Vice President of Expo 2020 Ceremonies, told Arab News.

And the celebrations won’t stop after tonight’s 90-minute show, Friday will see three spectacular fireworks displays in Dubai, marking the first full day of the Expo.

In a statement, the organizers said Friday’s show would be “a spectacular visual celebration commemorating the journey from winning the bid in 2013 to opening the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the largest global event held since the start of the pandemic.”

The colossal undertaking will give participating nations the chance to put forward ideas on how to create a better, more sustainable future.

At the first 1889 fair, France unveiled its Eiffel Tower. 12 years later, the X-ray machine made its debut in Buffalo, New York.

This time around, organizers will use a newly built futuristic city to address the world’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

Covering an area of 4.38 sqkm – equal to more than 600 football pitches – the site will be home to a state-of-the-art pavilions designed by brand-name architects.

The UAE’s pavilion looks like a falcon at rest while Saudi Arabia has emerged as the largest of all participating nations outside the UAE, holding three Guinness world records: the largest LED mirror screen display, the largest interactive floor, and the longest water exhibit.

Over six months, Expo organizers expect some 25 million visits to the site hosting more than 200 participants – including 192 countries.

“One of the most interesting things for me in this journey was me not being from this part of the world originally.. but learning about many stories that were born here in the region and the Arab World," Randall said

With organizers putting the final touches, the stage is now set for participants to showcase their achievements in architecture, food, agriculture, industry, the arts, and intellectual pursuits.

Transport links are completed, with Dubai Metro Route 2020 able to carry 44,000 passengers per hour to and from the Expo site directly.

Meanwhile, Alif – the Mobility Pavilion features the world’s largest passenger lift, can hold more than 160 persons.

In all, Expo has around 200 dining spots, offering more than 50 global cuisines to visitors from across the world that will wander across the interactive theatre.

Hamdan Bin Mohamad, the Crown Prince of Dubai, took to Twitter to express his excitement, posting a video revealing a bird’s eye view of the multi-billion dollar project with the caption “are you ready.”


TASI gains on optimism among investors: Opening bell

TASI gains on optimism among investors: Opening bell
Updated 24 min 46 sec ago

TASI gains on optimism among investors: Opening bell

TASI gains on optimism among investors: Opening bell

RIYADH: Saudi stocks extended their gains on Thursday as investor optimism increased following a strong earnings season.

The main index, TASI, gained 0.53 percent to reach 12,656, while the parallel market, Nomu, started flat at 22,020, as of 10:08 a.m. Saudi time.

Buruj Cooperative Insurance Co. gained 2.39 percent, leading the market gainers; Wataniya Insurance Co. fell 4.23 percent, leading the fallers.

Ataa Educational Co. gained 1.98 percent, after it received Capital Market Authority approval to increase capital to $112m for the acquisition of Naba'a.

Among the gainers on the list, the Saudi Industrial Export Co. rose 1 percent, and Elm Co. edged up by 0.41 percent.

In the financial sector, the Kingdom’s largest valued bank Al Rajhi edged up 0.85 percent, while Alinma Bank climbed 0.79 percent.

Among the telecom giants, stc added 0.38 percent and Zain KSA was down 0.15 percent

In the pharmaceutical sector, Aldawaa Medical Services Co. and Nahdi Medical Co. both opened flat.

Saudi Aramco, the largest player on the Saudi oil market, opened today’s trading up 0.37 percent.

The energy market saw Brent crude trading at $114.46 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate crude reached $110.85 a barrel, as of 10:10 a.m. Saudi time.


Commodities Update — Gold dips; Wheat, corn fall; Copper extends losses on global recession worries

Commodities Update — Gold dips; Wheat, corn fall; Copper extends losses on global recession worries
Updated 26 min 57 sec ago

Commodities Update — Gold dips; Wheat, corn fall; Copper extends losses on global recession worries

Commodities Update — Gold dips; Wheat, corn fall; Copper extends losses on global recession worries

RIYADH: Gold prices edged lower on Thursday as Treasury yields gained after the appeal of bullion was somewhat restored by minutes of a US Federal Reserve policy meeting that showed the central bank was unlikely to get more aggressive on interest rate hikes.

Spot gold dipped 0.2 percent to $1,849.75 per ounce, as of 0220 GMT. 

US gold futures gained 0.1 percent to $1,848.20. 

Silver down

Spot silver dipped 0.5 percent to $21.86 per ounce, while platinum eased 0.1 percent to $943.15. 

Palladium was little changed at $2,006.61.

Grains ease

US corn and wheat futures fell on Thursday on hopes that stuck grain supplies from the Black Sea region could start moving, while soybean eased on concerns over demand from top consumer China.

The most-active corn contract on the Chicago Board of Trade fell 1.39 percent to $7.61-half a bushel as of 0445 GMT, after falling to the lowest level in seven weeks on Wednesday.

Wheat was down 2.07 percent at $11.24- half a bushel and soybeans edged 0.28 percent lower to $16.76- quarter a bushel.

Copper falls

Copper extended losses to a third session on Thursday as concerns grew that the global economy might plunge into a recession and dampen demand for industrial metals.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was down 0.5 percent at $9,328.50 a ton, as of 0536 GMT. The most-traded July contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 0.2 percent to $10,581.78 a ton.

(With input from Reuters)


Mbappe’s rejection of Real Madrid gives Spanish football inferiority complex

Mbappe’s rejection of Real Madrid gives Spanish football inferiority complex
Updated 32 min 59 sec ago

Mbappe’s rejection of Real Madrid gives Spanish football inferiority complex

Mbappe’s rejection of Real Madrid gives Spanish football inferiority complex
  • Days before Champions League final against Liverpool, new La Liga champs left reeling when French international opted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain
  • Spanish game has lost some star attractions since departures of Cristiano Ronaldo from real Madrid, Lionel Messi from Barcelona

RIYADH: Real Madrid may be days away from another Champions League final, but it seems the biggest talking point at the club at the weekend was Kylian Mbappe’s decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Spanish giants, and their President Florentino Perez, simply do not take kindly to be being rejected, and certainly not twice as the French World Cup winner has just done.

On Saturday, Mbappe confirmed he would stay on at Paris Saint-Germain instead of making a move that had been all but set in stone earlier in the week. His new contract will keep him in the French capital until 2025 and allegedly give him benefits and powers never before afforded to a professional footballer.

And it was not only in Madrid where the decision did not go down well.

In recent days, even Barcelona President Joan Laporte has criticized Mbappe’s decision, calling players who signed long-term contracts for PSG “slaves to money.”

But perhaps the most outraged reaction came from the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, who questioned the French club’s ability to pull off such a lucrative deal having incurred losses of $750 million in recent seasons and with a salary bill of more than $640 million. It was, he said, an “insult to football.”

In short, the move has been seen as a slap in the face for La Liga and Spanish football.

La Liga, astonishingly, even filed complaints to UEFA and the EU against Paris Saint-Germain “in defense of the integrity of the economic system of European football.”

In its statement, La Liga considered the actions of Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of the Parisian club, “a danger to European football,” and stressed that such deals threatened the economic sustainability of the game in Europe, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs and sporting integrity at risk in the medium term. The deal, it said, was a “complete scandal.”

It is not hard to see where all the anger stems from. Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid and, later, Lionel Messi from Barcelona, La Liga has lost some of its luster.

Mbappe’s rejection of Real Madrid comes only weeks after Erling Haaland, also a target at the Bernabeu, signed for English Premier League champions Manchester City.

This has not been helped by Barcelona’s marked decline and economic troubles, despite Xavi Hernandez bringing about a relative mood of positivity around his young team. And though Real Madrid have fared better, winning the league title this season, and reaching the Champions League final, at times they have seemed a shadow of the team that won three continental titles under Zinedine Zidane.

Signing Mbappe would have been Tebas’ way of redressing the balance, Madrid once again becoming home to the world’s best player.

That will not happen now.

Even should Real Madrid win the Champions League final in what is sure to be a heated confrontation with a wounded Liverpool, few can deny that in recent years the war quality of the squad at the club has waned, something that Perez was keen to address with other new signings.

There is a danger, however, that the world’s best players are looking elsewhere. Spain, for so many years the ultimate destination, no longer has the same pull.

Never was this clearer than on Sunday night, when the whole world seemingly tuned in enthralled to the finale of the Premier League season.

They were not disappointed either, as the Etihad Stadium witnessed Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City win the title after a remarkable five-minute spell saw them overrun a two-goal deficit against Aston Villa, while Liverpool kept the pressure on to the last with a 3-1 win against Wolves at Anfield.

The Premier League may be overhyped at times, but days like that make it hard to deny that it remains the strongest, most exciting, and most popular league in the world. In marketing speak, its product is unmatched.

That is what Tebas is up against.

The two Spanish giants will no doubt strengthen their squads in anticipation of another battle for supremacy next season, but El Classico may not be the draw it once was if players continue to head to the Premier League or Paris Saint-Germain.

For Perez, the announcement of Mbappe was a major step to establishing Real Madrid as Europe’s prominent destination, regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s final against Liverpool.

Now he has to start all over again.

Already there are reports of a deal with Aurelien Tchouameni of Monaco. Will Real Madrid compensate for the Mbappe deal by attempting to sign Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane from their Champions League final opponents, or even Richarlison from Everton? And will Perez and the fans even be satisfied with any of these after having their heart set on Mbappe?

That such questions have preoccupied Spanish fans and officials ahead of European football’s biggest game shows the extent to which they have been rattled.

A defeat for Real Madrid on Saturday, and Spanish football’s recent sense of an inferiority complex might just grow even more.


Insurance firm Saudi Re gets central bank’s approval to raise capital to $356m through rights issue 

Insurance firm Saudi Re gets central bank’s approval to raise capital to $356m through rights issue 
Updated 38 min 55 sec ago

Insurance firm Saudi Re gets central bank’s approval to raise capital to $356m through rights issue 

Insurance firm Saudi Re gets central bank’s approval to raise capital to $356m through rights issue 

RIYADH: Saudi Reinsurance Co. has received the necessary approval from the Kingdom’s central bank to increase its capital to SR1.34 billion ($356 million), it said in a bourse filing.

Saudi Re, as the company is known, is looking to boost its capital, which currently stands at SR891 million, in a bid to support future expansion activities and strengthen its capital base.

The process will be carried out by offering a rights issue valued at nearly SR445 million, which will increase the company’s shares from 89.1 million to 134 million.

Saudi Re is among the first companies in Saudi Arabia to offer both life and non-life reinsurance products.


Here’s what you need to know as Tadawul wraps up the trading week

Here’s what you need to know as Tadawul wraps up the trading week
Updated 55 min 8 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know as Tadawul wraps up the trading week

Here’s what you need to know as Tadawul wraps up the trading week

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s main stock market notched its second day of gains on Wednesday, after listed companies concluded a strong earnings season.

TASI surged 2.3 percent to close at 12,588, whereas the parallel market Nomu slipped 1 percent to 22,020.

TASI led the gains in the Gulf, followed by Abu Dhabi’s stock market with a 0.9 percent gain and Kuwait’s BKP, up 0.6 percent.

Stock exchanges of Qatar and Bahrain edged 0.1 percent lower, while those of Dubai and Oman ended almost flat.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Egyptian blue-chip index EGX30 dropped 1.6 percent.

Oil prices rose on Thursday, with Brent crude trading at $114.29 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate reaching $110.69 a barrel as of 9:14 a.m. Saudi time.

Stock news

Saudi Reinsurance Co. obtained approval from the Saudi central bank to raise capital from SR891 million ($238 million) to SR1.34 billion

Maharah Human Resources’ unit Growth Avenue Investment Co. closed a deal to acquire 40 percent of the shares in Salis for Trading & Marketing

Naqi Water Co. got the Capital Market Authority’s approval for an initial public offering of a 30 percent stake on the Saudi Exchange

Saudia Dairy and Foodstuff Co.’s board recommended a dividend payout of SR3 per share for the second half of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022

Academy of Learning Co. and Keir International Co. received the CMA’s approval for direct listing on the parallel Nomu market

Batic Real Estate Co., a unit of Batic Investments and Logistics Co., obtained a loan valued at SR200 million to finance potential investments

Ataa Educational Co. got CMA’s nod to increase capital to SR421 million in order to fully acquire Naba’a Educational Co.’s shares

Salama Cooperative Insurance Co. submitted a filing to the CMA, seeking to reduce capital by 60 percent to SR100 million

Calendar

May 26, 2022

National Environmental Recycling Co., better known as Tadweeer, will start trading on the parallel market Nomu

End of Ladun Investment Co.’s IPO book-building

May 30, 2022

Close of Anaam International Holding Group’s rights trading

May 31, 2022

End of Retal Urban Development Co.’s IPO book-building

June 2, 2022

Close of Anaam International Holding Group’s new shares subscription