Schools embrace International Day with colour, culture and dancing

schools embrace international day with colour culture and dancing Schools embrace International Day with colour, culture and dancingDubai, UAE: A kaleidoscope of colours, music and cultures greeted visitors to a school as part of an event to mark International Day.

Nibras International School in the Green Community has children from 89 different nationalities. Parents were on Thursday treated to a variety of activities celebrating that multicultural mix.

Classrooms were decorated in themes that highlight the culture of different countries and hundreds of people enjoyed an afternoon of food and dance from around the world.

“Our class was representing Costa Rica, so we decorated the room in a way that would give people an idea of what the country is like,” said Salma Moussa, 18, from Egypt, who was wearing the Central American country’s national dress.

Pupils made models of volcanoes and displayed some of the foods and traditions associated with the country.

“I didn’t know much about the country before we prepared for International Day, but I’ve learnt a lot over the last couple of weeks,” said Salma.

A classmate even taught her a few phrases in Spanish.

“We have also arranged for a short video to be shown to visitors so that they can find out more,” she said.

Visitors to the Iran-themed classroom were greeted by a typical Iranian home showing a pool and courtyard scene.

It is the 10th year that the school has run an international family fun day, with the event becoming bigger each year.

“One of the things we’ve changed over the last couple of years is to get the kids to learn more about other cultures and traditions,” said Karen Robinson, the school principal.

“We have a very diverse group of children, including a class of 18 children with 17 different nationalities.”

The centrepiece to the event in the afternoon was held in the school’s main hall and about 700 people were expected to attend.

Visitors enjoyed a display of traditional Pakistani dance on the main stage from the nursery children along with performances by the Grade 11 pupils in Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian and Bollywood dancing.

Visitors to the classrooms were also treated to traditional sweets and coffees associated with different countries.

Most of the school’s 900 pupils, from KG1 to Grade 12, were involved with helping to organise the day and took pride in the work they had done.

“We feel it’s very important that we not only celebrate the rich mix of nationalities that we have at the school but also encourage the children to learn more about other cultures,” said Habib Habib, the school’s co-director.

“We’ve been celebrating International Day in some form for a decade now and it gets bigger each year.”

International Day celebrations were also marked in other schools across the emirate, including Mirdif Private School.

© The National

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Oman bars students from UAE institutes

oman bars students from uae institutes Oman bars students from UAE institutesDubai, UAE: Students from Oman have been barred from enrolling at two UAE higher education institutions, according to a statement from Oman’s ministry of higher education.

The ministry suspended Omanis from signing up for courses at the Ajman University of Science and Technology (AUST) and the College of Islamic and Arabic Studies in Dubai, starting from the next academic year.

The decision was made after a study carried out by Oman’s Committee on Qualifications for Institutions [CQI] showed a low success rate for graduates when it came to job interviews.

Said Amir Al Rahbi, the director of the CQI, said the ministry acted after taking the opinion of employers, reported the Times of Oman.

A statement from Oman’s ministry said that “in view of observations received by the ministry from recruiters about the level of certain institutions, Ajman University and all its branches, as well as the College of Islamic and Arabic Studies were removed from the list of recommended educational institutions in the UAE.”

It went on to say that “Omani students are no longer allowed to study at either institution as of the beginning of the academic year 2015-2016. Educational qualifications and degrees issued by these two institutions will no longer be accredited after the issuance of the present decision.”

However, Omani students currently enrolled at both institutions will receive their qualifications.

In a statement, AUST confirmed it had received a letter from the cultural attaché at the embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Abu Dhabi informing it of the decision. It stated the reason was down to “the pressure on the labour market in the Sultanate … and not the university’s commitment to quality standards”.

However, AUST questioned if it was enough to stop the enrolment of Omani students as around 10,000 have graduated from AUST since 1990 and 749 are still enrolled.

“We question the nature of the extensive studies which the director of Oman’s Committee on Qualifications for Institutions adopted in order to assess the university’s educational outcomes, and we question the suitability of these studies or reports with the academic standards of recognition used internationally in evaluation,” a statement from the university said.

“We emphasise that the ministry of higher education of Oman did not communicate with Ajman University directly or through other official channels to provide the data relied upon to make a decision at this level.”

Osama Saeed Salman, deputy chairman of Ajman University, initially said he was unsure if the statement from the Omani ministry, which had been circulating on social media on Thursday, was genuine.

However, using his Twitter account, he later said that AUST had received formal notice of the ban and the reasons for it.

Dean Hoke, co-founder of consultancy Edu Alliance, said he was surprised by the news as AUST and the College of Islamic and Arabic Studies in Dubai are “accredited by the UAE’s CAA [Commission for Academic Accreditation] which means at least the UAE Government believes there is sufficient quality”.

Dr Natasha Ridge, head of research at the Al Qasimi Foundation in Ras Al Khaimah, said the move by Oman points to the need for improved regulations of universities “so that we can comply with international standards and continue to attract students from overseas”.

“We need greater consistency across the GCC to allow students to move more freely between countries,” said Dr Ridge.

Ajman University was founded in 1988. A campus in Fujairah opened in 2000.

Dubai’s College of Islamic and Arabic Studies was established in 1986 and is based in Al Karama. It runs courses for foreign students, including non-Muslims, in Arabic, French and English.

© The National

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship integrated in Abu Dhabi University’s academic curriculum

innovation and entrepreneurship integrated in abu dhabi universitys academic curriculum Innovation and Entrepreneurship integrated in Abu Dhabi Universitys academic curriculumAbu Dhabi, UAE: With the United Arab Emirates’ classification of the year 2015 as the “Year of Innovation”, Abu Dhabi University is determined to take the lead at the educational frontier in graduating national cadres that can participate in the nation’s race towards establishing a knowledge-based economy that becomes a global force to be reckoned with. Twenty Master of Engineering Management students at the University’s College of Engineering just completed a course titled “Innovation and Entrepreneurship”, which was integrated into the curriculum with the start of the academic year. The course aims to boost the innovative spirit and entrepreneurship culture amongst the students, enabling them to utilize research and discovery methodologies to break the mold and think outside the box.

Part of the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” course gave the participating students the opportunity to attend workshops at the recent “WSA-mobile Global Congress 2015″, during which the students prepared case studies that highlighted some of the winning projects of the WSA, thereby giving them further insight into the limitless world of technological innovations.

Commenting on this addition to the curriculum, Rima Shaban, Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre “ADU Enterprise” explained that the workshops embodied the practical in -the -field knowledge Abu Dhabi University ensures to instill in both undergraduate and postgraduate students. “Entrepreneurship and innovation are an integral part of the academic curriculum of most programs offered at Abu Dhabi University. They are characteristics that are very much in demand and are considered the driving force of SMEs which constitute the backbone of the UAE’s non-oil GDP and will the enhance the nation’s transition into a knowledge based economy. Abu Dhabi University has always been keen on contributing to the development of a workforce that is inclined to more innovative industries. Our partnership with WSA-mobile Global Congress 2015 is part of our commitment to that contribution. As part of their academic curriculum, around 20 of ADU’s Masters of Engineering Management students were given the opportunity to develop business case studies on several winning projects of the WSA. These case studies allowed our students to further educate themselves on the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship, thereby broadening their horizons and encouraging them to spread ADU’s innovative culture”.
Although the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” course is currently only a part of the academic curriculum of ADU’s Master of Engineering Management and the Master of Project Management and as a graduation project component of the undergraduate engineering programs; however, the University is working on integrating the course within the academic curriculum of the rest of its undergraduate programs as well. Crowned the “Best Supporting University for Entrepreneurship” in the UAE and the Arab World during the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders in its 8th cycle, Abu Dhabi University is bound to lead higher educational institutions in the region through their exploration of the world of innovation.

© Press Release 2015

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UAE on global leadership track through education

uae on global leadership track through education UAE on global leadership track through educationDubai, UAE: The UAE is laying the foundation for global leadership through education, Hussain Bin Ebrahim Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, told delegates of the 8th Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) Dubai and Global Education Forum.

He highlighted UAE’s impressive international achievements last year, including its improved ranking on the Global Competitiveness Index at 12th place, and becoming the 3rd leading nation worldwide for attracting technology and talent specialized in building the knowledge economy.

The UAE is now ranked first globally in 18 public performance reports, issued by the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. It has also achieved a standing as an advanced global center for innovation, reaching the first place regionally.

Moreover, the UAE occupies the first four positions in the global information technology report by the World Economic Forum in the indicators relating to the importance of information and communication technology as per the vision for future government. It is also now the world’s second largest in government procurement of advanced technology.

“With these achievements as evidenced by highly respected global reports issued last year, we can affirm that the impressive progress achieved by the UAE is a product of the will and the desire of its society and people to lead the world under guidance, leadership and vision of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and their Highnesses Supreme Council members and rulers of the Emirates, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,” Al Hammadi further said.

According to the education minister, everything UAE has achieved in all aspects of life has propelled it into the future allowing the UAE to grow through the very same spirit of innovation and ambition to be a leader among nations, as well as contribute towards advancement and discovery of new technology, scientific research, knowledge, for the benefit of human civilization and its existence and progress.

Dr Majid Al Nuaimi, Minister of Education for Bahrain, and Ali Al Qarni, Director General of the GCC Arab Education Bureau, as well as key personnel from the UAE Ministry of Education such as undersecretaries Fawzia Gharib, Khawla Al Moalla, Ali Mayhad, and Amal Al Kaws all attended the keynote presentation at the opening day of the forum.

The World Bank’s Lead Education Economist, Harry Patrinos affirmed the important role of education in society in his presentation, “What Works in Education to Get Economies Moving and to Sustain Growth?”

Patrinos said education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and inequality and for laying the foundations of economic growth. “And the importance of educating people is backed by irrefutable evidence as recent findings suggest that increasing numbers of people who had entered school leave school with improved competence and capacity.

Al Hammadi also announced the launch of the Ministry of Education’s Founder Award in memory of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The award, which carries an AED4.6 million prize, is distinct in its methodology, standards, and objectives aims to inspire excellence and unleashing innovation and the creative spirit on the field and among educators and students, as well as its association with our founder the late Sheikh Zayed.

Matt Thompson, Project Director, F&E Group, organizers of GESS Dubai, said this year’s edition of the region’s premier exhibition show has gathered the very latest productions and solutions aimed at enabling teachers and students to be innovation champions in their respective schools.

© The Saudi Gazette 2015

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Shoura hints at R&D funds for universities

shoura hints at rd funds for universities Shoura hints at R&D funds for universitiesSaudi Arabia: The Shoura Council advised the Ministry of Finance and the private sector to increase funds for scientific research in the Kingdom’s universities, at its session held on Tuesday.

Shoura members proposed strengthening research and development after discussing the Education and Scientific Research Committee’s report, which was based on the annual study released by the Ministry of Education for the year 1434-1435.

Speaking to local media, Assistant Speaker Yahya bin Abdullah Al-Samaan stated that the council recommended for said research to focus on applied, experimental, technical, industrial and communal-oriented studies.

As part of their suggestions, council members urged universities to contribute to the community and build a knowledge-based society.

Talking about the report, a member explained that the majority of academic research produced by universities was geared to promote the researcher himself, with little value for the national economy, while another council representative demanded an assessment of scientific research positions in the universities.

Discussing health education and the challenges it faces at Saudi universities, the council saw tremendous disparity between curricula and means of education, which produced huge disparity in outputs between health colleges.

In order to establish more efficient scientific departments, council members suggested setting up a board of trustees for each university as in the case of world universities and privately-owned academic centers in the Kingdom.

© Arab News 2015

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QR1.2bn deals to build 17 schools, six KGs

qr12bn deals to build 17 schools six kgs QR1.2bn deals to build 17 schools, six KGsDoha, Qatar: The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) yesterday signed contracts worth over QR1.2bn with Qatari companies to build 17 new schools and six kindergartens.

This takes the total number of schools and KGs being built by Ashghal to 69 at a cost of QR3bn.

The contracts were signed in the presence of Minister of Education and Higher Education H E Dr Mohammed Abdul Wahed Ali Al Hammadi, Nasser bin Ali Al Mawlawi, President, Ashghal , and senior officials of the Supreme Education Council and Ashghal .

Work is under way on 38 schools and KGs with an estimated cost of over QR1.737m. Of these, 33 schools and KGs will be delivered to the SEC before the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year.

The new schools are designed according to the standard design model for schools. The total construction area of each school is 9,159sqm and each consists of a two-storey building that accommodates around 650 students in 25 classes.

The schools’ main buildings are equipped with a multipurpose hall, chemistry, physics and biology labs, two computer rooms, two arts studios, a language room and an administrative office.

The main buildings are also surrounded by external buildings, covered parking lots, outdoor football, handball and volleyball courts.

The KGs 12 classrooms will accommodate up to 240 children and include shaded playgrounds, special rooms for music, language and computer. They will also have a library, classrooms, and outdoor spaces that include shaded parking lots, green spaces and service buildings.

The school designs comply with Qatari construction code so that people with disabilities and special needs can access ramps, rest rooms and other amenities. The school buildings are also eco-friendly with special materials and equipment to help conserve energy and decrease water consumption.

Contract for four schools in Doha and surrounding areas worth QR260m has been awarded to Amana Qatar Contracting Company. One school will be in Al Rayyan and three in Al Wajbah.

Another contract worth QR272m has been awarded to the same company for two schools in Al Kaaban, one in Al Dhakira and one in Al Karaana.

A QR199.3m contract has been awarded to Al Jaber Trading and Contracting Company for one school in Al Shahaniya, one in Onaiza and one in Al Ruwais.

A QR187.8m contract has been awarded to Al Sraiya Trading and Contracting Company for two schools in Mesaieed and one in Mesaimeer.

A QR168.4m contract has been awarded to Al Huda Engineering Works for three schools in Umm Al Saneem.

A QR158.4m contract has been awarded to Galfar Al Misnad Engineering and Contracting and includes six KGs in Nuaija, Hazm Al Markhiya, Al Messila, Umm Ghuwailina, Al Dhakira, and Wadi Al Banat.

Work on all projects starts in the first quarter of 2015 and is due to be completed by the third quarter of 2016.

© The Peninsula 2015

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Northrop Grumman and UAE’s HCT Extend STEM Partnership

northrop grumman and uaes higher colleges of technology extend stem partnership Northrop Grumman and UAEs HCT Extend STEM PartnershipAbu Dhabi, UAE: Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Higher Colleges of Technology ( HCT ) today, renewing their joint commitment to advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the UAE.

Photos accompanying this release are available at:

The MOU, signed at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, marks the official launch of the 2015 Innovation Challenge competition.

The Innovation Challenge pairs Northrop Grumman mentors with HCT students to tackle a real-world engineering project: designing, building and then flying autonomous unmanned aircraft. The programme ends in a week-long competition where the student teams compete against each other in oral presentations and flight demonstrations.

“The Innovation Challenge continues to successfully enable our students, both male and female, to utilize the STEM-based knowledge gained through their courses in a very hands-on manner,” said Dr Tayeb Kamali, vice chancellor of HCT .

“This competition is a wonderful example of HCT ‘s commitment to the ‘Learning by Doing’ philosophy, where our students apply what they are taught in an interactive, practical setting. We thank Northrop Grumman for once again committing great support to enriching our students with experience in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles,” Kamali added.

“The UAE is investing heavily in the development of new industries in order to support economic diversification, and Northrop Grumman is committed to supporting that goal,” said Doug Raaberg, chief executive of Northrop Grumman UAE. “Innovation Challenge is a unique program that equips youth for new careers paths, supports the advancement of women’s participation in the labor force, and enhances the UAE’s global competitiveness.”

Innovation Challenge 2015 is the largest to date, with 15 teams representing five Emirates. Competition week – which is open to the public – will take place from April 19-23, 2015. There students will compete against each other for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to the United States, where they will tour Northrop Grumman facilities and educational institutions specializing in STEM.

To learn more about the competition, visit, and follow the official hashtag #UAEIC2015 on Twitter.

© Press Release 2015

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UAE school holidays to increase, Ministry of Education announces

uae school holidays to increase ministry of education announces UAE school holidays to increase, Ministry of Education announcesAbu Dhabi, UAE: Children will have an extra 14 days’ holiday in the next academic year, 2015-2016.

The federal Cabinet has approved a reduction in the number of schooldays from the current 189 to 175 for the next three academic years.

The 2015-2016 academic year is scheduled to begin on August 30. Staff will return to work one week earlier.

The winter holiday will be extended to three weeks, with two weeks for spring break.

Pupils will conclude their academic year on June 23, 2016, and staff on July 5.

The Cabinet said it was reviewing its policies on the number of schooldays to take into account the concerns of pupils and their families, while considering the education criteria.

The Government statement did not specify which schools would be affected and Ministry of Education officials were not available for comment.

Dr Abdur Rashid, principal at the Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistani School Dubai, said his staff should have few problems coping with the changes.

“It [winter holiday] is a matter of three weeks, I think it will hardly matter,” said Mr Rashid, who has been in the post for the past three years. “It will not affect that much, this is my opinion.

“If teachers are willing to fit in the curriculum, they can do it.”

Mr Rashid said the changes “could be a source of motivation for teachers”. He said because most of his teachers were from Pakistan, they could use the extra holiday to “go and be with their families”.

One parent of an eight-year-old girl who attends Brighton College in Abu Dhabi questioned whether extra-curricular activities would have to be cut to accommodate the shorter year.

“We’re always up for a break, but I don’t know if they can fit in the curriculum in those days,” she said. “It’s just a matter of will they be able to fit everything into a shorter period of time.”

The changes are a reversal of a Ministry of Education announcement this year that added an extra 10 days to the academic year.

The ministry said the change was designed to bring the educational year in line with international standards.

The National

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Three UAE universities in first Times Higher Education rankings for Middle East

three uae universities in first times higher education rankings for middle east Three UAE universities in first Times Higher Education rankings for Middle EastDubai, UAE: Three UAE universities have made it into the first Times Higher Education rankings for the Mena region.

In the list of the top 30 institutions, UAE University was ranked in 11th place, American University of Sharjah at 17th and Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi at 20th.

The full global rankings will be released next year.

“This pilot ranking is highly significant as it gives us an opportunity to start a serious, in-depth conversation about what range of performance indicators are needed to properly assess universities in the Mena region,” said Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings.

“This top 30 is based on just a single indicator – research effect. It gives us a snapshot of the quality of research taking place in the region, and which universities are making the highest global effect in research. But of course while research is a key activity for a university, and they play a vital role in creating new knowledge and developing new technologies through research, it is not the only mission. Teaching is crucial, and of course, as is the third mission of working with industry.”

The THE World University Rankings, which has been published annually for more than a decade, uses 13 separate performance indicators to judge institutions across the full range of activities – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

Mr Baty said he would like to extend this formula to the Mena region, making it locally specific.

Eleven countries are featured in the Mena top 30 list, which Mr Baty says shows that no single country is dominant in the field of research.

“This is great news as it suggests there is big potential for several countries to play a much bigger role on the world stage in terms of research excellence,” he said.

For the UAE, he says having three spots in the list is significant and shows research is an area in which the Emirates is developing quickly.

“As there has been a limited research infrastructure in the UAE, a very sensible decision has been made to import leading international institutions and leading global scholars to help build the foundations and create a strong research base,” said Mr Baty. “This is an aspect which I expect to see improving in the coming years due to the levels of investment and the commitment to development.”

Prof Mohamed Albaili, provost of UAEU, said the presence of three institutions in the rankings “puts the country on the international map”. He also said he hoped it would attract more high calibre students to the institution.

“I think we will receive better students and more of them, due to our advanced ranking. The better our ranking, the better the job market will receive our graduates too.”

Prof Rory Hume, provost at UAEU until two years ago and fellow of the Centre for Studies of Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley, said the rankings were a positive sign for the UAE.

“Given the population of the UAE, it means the UAE is doing well in the region, which is a positive,” said Prof Hume, who until December was based at the Qatar Foundation.

“The fact three institutions are ranked will encourage other universities and colleges in the Emirates to continue to strive and increase their quality and become ranked.”

He said the universities that made the rankings did so as a result of consistent goals in the area of research. “There has been a consistent vision of what they should become over time,” he said.

Prof Kevin Mitchell, interim provost at AUS, said the results from such a respected ranking were good for the country: “Three UAE institutions in the top 30 indicates the country’s commitment to higher education and the success achieved in a relatively short time period.

“ AUS is very proud to be included among the top 30 universities in the region and to be one of only three institutions in the UAE to appear in the rankings. Inclusion in the rankings reflects the extraordinary commitment of a dedicated faculty and staff and recognises the quality of AUS students and alumni.”

The National

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Cabinet approves school calendar for next three years

cabinet approves school calendar for next three years Cabinet approves school calendar for next three yearsAbu Dhabi, UAE: The Minister of Education says the cabinet has approved the school calendar for the next three years, to give universities and schools the chance to unify their examinations.

Hussain Bin Ebrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, made this statement on Tuesday at the Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) and Global Education Forum (GEF).

“The main objective is to unify the examinations and holidays between universities and schools. We also want all schools in the UAE to have the same examination time and day, so that a student from Dubai will take an exam at the same time and day as a student from Abu Dhabi.”

The minister who said private schools will have a one week window of flexibility because they follow curriculums whose examinations are unified with countries abroad.

“We did take the educational community’s feedback before approving the academic year by opening discussions through social media. We have also reduced the numbers of examinations. We don’t want the examination period to become a nightmare for students, what we care about is that the student learns, exams only act as measurement tools of their performance.

The Cabinet has approved the school calendar for the next three years for all stages, so that the total number of school days will be 175 days a year.

In this regard, the Cabinet said it was keen on reviewing global practices relevant to school days, taking into account the circumstances of the students and their families, and taking into consideration the educational criteria included in the UAE national agenda, which aims to develop a high-level education system.

The calender
Academic year 2015-16
Begins: August 30, 2015.
Staff begins work: August 23, 2015.
Winter vacation: Three weeks (Starts December 20, 2015)
Schools reopen: January 10, 2016
Spring vacation: Two weeks (Starting March 27)
School reopen: April 10
School academic year concludes: June 23
Staff members’ conclude academic year: July 5.

Academic year 2016-17
Staff begins work: August 21, 2016
Students begin studies: August 28
Winter vacation: December 18
Schools reopen: January 8, 2017
Spring vacation: March 26
Schools reopen: April 9
Students conclude academic year: June 22
Staff concludes academic year: July 6

Academic year 2017-18
Staff begins work: September 3, 2017
School reopens: September 10
Winter vacation: December 17
Schools reopen: January 7, 2018
Spring vacation: Two weeks (March 25)
School reopen: April 8
Students conclude academic year: June 28
Staff concludes academic year: July 5

Gulf News

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