Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez attend fundraising event for Gaza 

Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez attend fundraising event for Gaza 
Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. (X)
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Updated 13 December 2023
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Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez attend fundraising event for Gaza 

Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez attend fundraising event for Gaza 

DUBAI: US superstars Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez were spotted attending a fundraising event for Gaza organized by US Egyptian Ramy Youssef’s comedy club in Brooklyn this week.  

Youssef’s club supports organizations aiding Palestine and pledged to donate 100 percent of its proceeds from the event to the non-governmental organization American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) for relief efforts in Gaza.  




Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez leaving the fundraising event. (X)

It was reported that actresses Cara Delevingne, Anya Taylor Joy and Zoe Kravitz also attended the event.  

Swift has not made a comment on the ongoing war in Gaza, while Gomez took to social media and said: “I’ve been taking a break from social media because my heart breaks to see all of the horror, hate, violence, and terror that’s going on in the world. People being tortured and killed or any act of hate towards any one group is horrific. We need to protect ALL people, especially children and stop the violence for good.”

The Hamas-run health ministry on Tuesday updated its death toll since the Gaza war began to 18,412 people, mostly women and children. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza comes in retaliation for the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7 that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli figures, and saw around 240 hostages taken. 


Sara Al-Madani teases ‘plot twists’ in Season 2 of ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’

Sara Al-Madani teases ‘plot twists’ in Season 2 of ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’
Updated 30 May 2024
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Sara Al-Madani teases ‘plot twists’ in Season 2 of ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’

Sara Al-Madani teases ‘plot twists’ in Season 2 of ‘Real Housewives of Dubai’

DUBAI: Emirati entrepreneur Sara Al-Madani is ready for an explosive second season of “Real Housewives of Dubai,” premiering in the region on OSN+ on June 3.

“If people thought Season 1 was crazy, I mean, Season 2 is insane. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. It’s deep. There’s a lot of plot twists. Expect the unexpected,” said Al-Madani in a recent interview with Arab News.

“After doing Season 1, you kind of embody that experience more and get more comfortable with it. Because imagine you’re sitting in a location with 40 people (and) cameras in every corner. It is not something that you can easily ignore. In Season 2, we understood how to do things better. We are more comfortable, you see the personalities louder and you get to know people better because we just embodied the whole experience,” she continued.

Season 1 will see Al-Madani reunite with her Season 1 co-stars Chanel Ayan, Caroline Brooks, Lesa Milan and Caroline Stanbury, with new housewife Taleen Marie joining the group.

About Marie, Al-Madani said: “I love that the circle is getting bigger. But at the same time, I feel like I didn’t get to know her very well yet because she is Brooks’ close friend. So, I feel like we didn’t have enough time to get to know each other on a personal level.

“I mean, it was interesting, but also because it is a new person. And that person wants to prove their position in the group. So sometimes they overdo things. And the truth is, as a woman, I see you, I honor you, I feel you. You don’t need to go far with anything. So, she’s a very nice girl,” she added.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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When asked about her biggest learnings from Season 1, Al-Madani said: “You just have to have strict boundaries. Don’t allow people to cross your red lines and disrespect you in any way.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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She also had a message for her fans looking forward to Season 2.

“I just want to tell all my family that supports me out there that you don’t have to worry. I’m still maintaining my character and my authenticity. Sometimes it gets hard because some of the girls really push you out of character with situations you’re in and all that. But I’ve done the inner work. So, it is not easy to get me in a space beyond who I am. I’m very authentic,” Al-Madani said.

“But at the same time, I want to tell everybody that as nice and sweet as I am, I also don’t let people mess with me and you’re going to see that this season to a lot. People have this wrong idea about nice people. They’re like, ‘Oh, she’s spiritual. She’s all about healing, love and light. She’s never going to react. We’re going to push her buttons and she’s going to be fine with it.’ No, we’re not. We create no issues, but we take we take none either. We don’t let people mess with us, too. We have a dark side, but we know when to unleash it.”
 


Jerry Seinfeld hits back at Pro-Palestinian protesters

Jerry Seinfeld hits back at Pro-Palestinian protesters
Updated 30 May 2024
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Jerry Seinfeld hits back at Pro-Palestinian protesters

Jerry Seinfeld hits back at Pro-Palestinian protesters

DUBAI: US comedian Jerry Seinfeld  has hit back at Pro-Palestinian protesters saying that his comedy shows becoming the target of protests is “so dumb,” adding that demonstrators should “correct their aim.”

The 70-year-old was recently heckled by a protester at a standup gig and also saw dozens of students walk out of his commencement speech at Duke University earlier this month.

Speaking to host Bari Weiss on her podcast Honestly, Seinfeld said: “I love that these young people, they’re trying to get engaged with politics. We have to just correct their aim a little bit. They don’t seem to understand that, as comedians, we really don’t control anything.”

Asked about how he deals with facing protests personally, Seinfeld replied: “It’s so silly. It’s like, they want to express this sincere, intense rage. But again, a little off target.”

“So that’s, to me, comedic,” he said.

He continued: “We’re tribal animals. We’re social creatures. We look for agreement and consensus. We’re driven by agreement and consensus and mob rule — it gives us comfort, gives us certainty.”

Seinfeld has been vocal in his support for Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack.

The comedian also met with families of the hostages and visited a kibbutz during a trip to Israel in December.

The walkout at Duke's graduation was the latest manifestation of protests that have taken over US campuses as students call for universities to divest from arms suppliers and other companies profiting from the war.


Pakistanis turn to gemstone healing as latest de-stress fix

Pakistanis turn to gemstone healing as latest de-stress fix
Updated 30 May 2024
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Pakistanis turn to gemstone healing as latest de-stress fix

Pakistanis turn to gemstone healing as latest de-stress fix
  • Practitioners believe crystals release stress, induce relaxation, promote energy balance within the body
  • Crystal healing still considered pseudoscience, no peer-reviewed studies that prove alternative therapy’s efficacy

ISLAMABAD: While gemstones have long been cherished for their ornamental value, a growing number of Pakistanis are turning to them for healing purposes, with practitioners claiming stones “emit radiations” that help foster mental and bodily wellness.
Pakistan has significant gemstone reserves, particularly in its northern and northwestern regions, which include a variety of high-quality stones such as peridot, aquamarine, topaz, ruby and emerald. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also spoke in favor of granting industry status to the country’s gemstone sector, citing their economic potential following a 47 percent increase in the export of pearls and precious stones to China last year.
But many stones have other uses and can be used in therapy and placed at precise points on and around the body to release stress, induce relaxation and promote energy balance within the body.
Scientifically however, gemstone therapy is still considered a pseudoscience and there are little to no peer-reviewed studies that prove the method’s efficacy. 
“When clients come to me, I analyze their names and numerology to understand their traits,” Syed Khurram Abbas Naqvi, a gemstone healer in the capital, told Arab News this week. “Using this insight, I recommend specific gemstones to amplify strengths and alleviate concerns.”
Naqvi said more and more people were beginning to believe in the healing properties of stones, arguing that they emitted subtle energies or vibrations that influenced the wearer’s well-being and energy. Wearing a gemstone enhanced the lifespan and function of human cells, leading to better health, improved decision-making and overall well-being, he said.
“When examining agate, one finds it contains silicon dioxide, while turquoise comprises ammonia oxide along with elements such as copper, magnesium, iron, phosphate, and CsO3 [caesium ozonide],” Naqvi added.
“The radiation emitted by these stones is believed to bolster bodily strength. For instance, silicon dioxide can help regulate blood pressure, while bloodstone may assist in controlling blood pressure in men and opal is reputed to mitigate aggression in women.
“My priority is to provide high-quality, pure stones because their radiation power is stronger and more effective.”
“PROFOUND EFFECTS”
Authentication of stones is vital for the business which depends on experts who specialize in telling real stones from fake ones.
“Clients seek our certification due to the high financial stakes and risk of fraud in the industry,” Faizan Jamshed, an internationally qualified gemologist who manages his own jewelry testing lab in the federal capital, said. “Our rigorous lab testing and certifications are vital for insurance and client trust.”
He added that a gemstone’s effectiveness for healing was closely tied to its genuine nature and purity.
“While untrained individuals may perceive all stones similarly, experts can discern substantial value discrepancies,” he said.
Naqvi added that the “color, carat, cut and clarity” of a stone were vital for gemstone therapy to work.
“The clearer, larger and purer the stone, the stronger its radiation power, resulting in more profound effects.”
But while many people remain skeptical of gemstone therapy, there are takers for the healing method who believe the right stone can do miracles and significantly change lives.
Amir Shehzad Haidari, an accountant with a local company, said he suffered for years from low energy before turning to gemstone treatment.
“Despite feeling lethargic and unmotivated, I chose gemstone healing over medical assistance,” he told Arab News. “Wearing quartz infused me with energy and tranquility.”
Muntasir Abbas, a travel agent, said he sought out gemstone healing to find relief against depression. 
“Family problems had me deeply depressed,” he said. “After traditional treatments failed, a friend recommended gemstone healing. Initially skeptical, I decided to try it. Within two to three months of wearing the suggested stone, I noticed significant improvements in my emotional state.”


‘Beauty is needed for your soul,’ Saudi artist Nasser Almulhim says

‘Beauty is needed for your soul,’ Saudi artist Nasser Almulhim says
Updated 30 May 2024
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‘Beauty is needed for your soul,’ Saudi artist Nasser Almulhim says

‘Beauty is needed for your soul,’ Saudi artist Nasser Almulhim says
  • The Saudi artist discusses societal shifts, art as therapy, and ‘putting it all out there’ 

DUBAI: The emerging Saudi artist Nasser Almulhim is an open book. A little over 10 minutes into our interview, Almulhim, speaking from his studio in Riyadh, admits to dealing with mental health issues, particularly depression. He copes, he says, by deep breathing, praying, walking barefoot on the grass, and getting in touch with his spiritual side. The topic arose when I asked about his childhood in Saudi Arabia, at a time when the country was much more restrictive.  

“I never confronted this question, because I always feared looking back at memories. It wasn’t an easy lifestyle for men or women,” Almulhim, who was born in 1988, tells Arab News. 

 'Balance' by Nasser Almulhim. (Supplied) 

Almulhim comes from a large family of four sisters and three brothers. They were raised in Riyadh’s Al-Malaz neighborhood, largely populated by an expat community of Sudanese, Egyptians and Jordanians, according to the artist. Interacting with people of different backgrounds enriched his upbringing.  

“My parents raised me well and taught me to respect people from a young age,” he says. “It was a very simple lifestyle. We didn’t have much, but my family provided us with safety and a good education. I studied in a public school and we were in the street a lot. We were playing football and we used to spray paint, just being rebellious, and the police would come,” he says. “Art was dead back in the day. It was haram.”  

Despite this, Almulhim, who enjoyed math and science as school subjects, was always sketching. “My parents saw something within me,” he says. It is also possible that Almulhim, who describes himself as a visual, nature-loving person, inherited his artistic sensibilities from his family. Almulhim says his grandmother was a poet, and his father was passionate about analog photography. 

The aritst's 'Distance is Near.' (Supplied)

“I believe he has an artistic side, but he is not embracing it,” he says. “He has a beautiful vision, even with the way he decorated the house. It came from someone who was vulnerable and sensitive.”  

During Almulhim’s high school years, he started to notice how ‘different’ he was as a Saudi, compared to other Arabs in the region. “We used to travel to Syria and Lebanon,” he recalls. “In Beirut, everyone was hanging out on the beach. People were doing their thing, and then I would come back to Riyadh, and it was the complete opposite. I would ask my dad, ‘Are we outsiders?’ And he would say, ‘There is a system. This is our tradition and culture.’ So I was always trying to do the opposite.” 

After graduating from high-school, Almulhim, who didn’t speak English at the time, travelled all the way to Sydney, Australia, to study intensive English courses, and later moved to the US to pursue a bachelor’s degree. “The funny part is, I went there to study engineering,” he says, adding that the men in his family were doctors or engineers. At university, he spent time with creative people studying music and theatre, and they noticed something about him.

 'Face Your Own Madness.' (Supplied)

 “They saw me reading books, sketching, playing the guitar, watching art documentaries, and going to museums. They were telling me to shift my major. It was a big deal for me and for my family as well. I shifted to study fine arts, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I felt light, I felt like myself,” Almulhim, who graduated with a degree in studio art from the University of West Florida, says.  

As reflected in his colorful paintings, Almulhim isn’t afraid of embracing his feminine side, something that stems from his close relationship with his sisters.  

“I always felt comfortable talking to them, even about sensitive topics, which I couldn’t talk to my parents about. There was a gap,” he says. But, it has invited criticism from male viewers. “With using pink, for example, I’ve had men ask me, ‘Why are you using pink? You’re a man.’” 

He says he wants to go “back to basics” with his painting, by appreciating beauty again.  

“In art, beauty is my greatest inspiration. The late Lebanese artist Etel Adnan said that, nowadays in the art scene, we’ve neglected the idea of beauty and we’re just focused on the conceptual,” he says. “People like distraction, which makes sense because we live in distraction. But I feel like beauty is needed for your soul, your physical self, and being nice to other people.” 

Nasser 'Gazing at The Sea Horizon.' (Supplied)

Almulhim fills his calming canvases, composed of floating geometric forms, with open spaces of color.  

“In painting, I like colors that bring happiness and might heal you. It puts you in a state of mind that doesn’t numb you, but makes you disconnect from the distraction around you. I always say that art is therapy for me. Part of it is, I feel like I’m escaping, maybe from some pain that I need to heal from, and part of it is that I’m confronting that pain,” he explains, adding that he hopes to one day pursue a doctorate degree in art therapy. His paintings also contain a psychological and spiritual element, creating a universe of his own, where he is “channeling the Higher Power, Allah, this great universe, this divinity that is outside and within us.”   

On June 6, Almulhim will open his new exhibition, “On In-Between,” at Tabari Art Space in Dubai. Through his new paintings, the artist is tackling the psychological stages of the subconscious, pre-consciousness, and consciousness.  

“I’m telling the audience that we have to understand this world to heal and to know ourselves,” he says. “Also, it’s fine to flow between these two or three fields. I’m telling you as a humble human being, I am all of these things: My chaos, my order, my vulnerability, my beauty, my ugliness. I’m putting it all out there.”  

Almulhim is also driven at this stage of his career by collaborating with fellow artists in the Arab region. He would like to set up art-residency exchanges, where artists from Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan can work in his Riyadh space, and vice-versa. He says it was the ongoing tragedy in Gaza that sparked this idea.  

“I’m an artist, but, above that, I’m a human being,” he says. “How can I help? How can I contribute? How can we learn from each other as Arabs and as citizens of the globe? I feel in our region, we are in need of this unity.” 


HIGHLIGHTS: Rana Al-Mutawa’s exhibition ‘Everyday Life in the Spectacular City’ 

HIGHLIGHTS: Rana Al-Mutawa’s exhibition ‘Everyday Life in the Spectacular City’ 
Updated 30 May 2024
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HIGHLIGHTS: Rana Al-Mutawa’s exhibition ‘Everyday Life in the Spectacular City’ 

HIGHLIGHTS: Rana Al-Mutawa’s exhibition ‘Everyday Life in the Spectacular City’ 

DUBAI: The exhibition, which runs until July 4 at Dubai’s Kutubna Cultural Center, features images from Rana Al-Mutawa’s book of the same name, which is subtitled “Making Home in Dubai.”

‘Flanerie’ 

The exhibition is billed as an “urban ethnography that reveals how middle-class citizens and longtime residents of Dubai interact within the city’s so-called superficial spaces to create meaningful social lives.”  

 

‘Fountains’ 

In her book, Al-Mutawa argues that Dubai’s often-spectacular (at least in size) buildings, though regularly criticized as superficial and soulless, in fact “serve residents’ evolving social needs, transforming (these spaces) into personally important cultural sites,” perhaps disproving “stereotypes that portray Dubai’s developments as alienating and inherently disempowering.” 

 

‘A Sense of Belonging’ 

In a press release, Al-Mutawa says that the work is an attempt to show that “superficial” places are “important cultural sites: ones where social and gender norms are observed and negotiated.” She adds: “I hope (the work) can generate debate about how to go about understanding these places without repeating the stereotype about inauthentic Gulf cities.”