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Cameron Smith storms past Rory McIlroy to win The Open

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The 150th playing of The Open Championship called for a final round worthy of the annals of history. Cameron Smith rose to the occasion and wrote his own chapter at the Old Course.

Smith used a run of five consecutive birdies to card an 8-under-par 64, overtake Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and win The Open by one stroke for his first major title Sunday at St. Andrews in Scotland.

The Australian posted a four-round score of 20-under 268, tying the major championship record for lowest score relative to par. Cameron Young, his playing partner, eagled the 18th hole to place second with a 65, while McIlroy finished two shots back.

Smith, who began the day four shots off the pace, won The Players Championship in March and had a close call at the Masters, where he stumbled in the final round and tied for third.

“I want to thank the team, all the hard work we’ve done,” said Smith, 28, as he accepted the Claret Jug. “The last couple years have really started to pay off, and this one definitely makes it worth it.”

McIlroy’s bogey-free 70 was only enough for third place at 18 under. He notched top-10 finishes at all four majors this year, but couldn’t cure his major title drought that dates to 2014.

“At the end of the day, it’s not life or death,” McIlroy said. “I’ll have other chances to win the Open Championship and other chances to win majors. It’s one that I feel like I let slip away, but there will be other opportunities.”

Smith made two birdies on the front nine before rattling off five straight at Nos. 10-14 to pass McIlroy and touch 19 under. He rolled in putts of 16, 11 and 18 feet at the 11th through 13th holes to tie McIlroy, then got up and down for birdie at the par-5 14th to grab the solo lead.

“I really wanted to stay patient on that back nine,” Smith said. “I think I was maybe three back at the turn. I knew I just had to be patient. I felt good all day, and those putts just started going in on that back nine and just got a lot of momentum going.”

Smith’s strength became McIlroy’s weakness on Sunday. The crowd favorite hit every green in regulation but two-putted all 18 holes, leaving several birdie opportunities behind him.

“I felt like I didn’t do much wrong today, but I didn’t do much right either,” McIlroy said. “It’s just one of those days where I played a really controlled round of golf. I did what I felt like I needed to just apart from capitalizing on the easier holes … If I had made the birdies there from good positions, it probably would have been a different story.”

Smith preserved his one-stroke lead with a par save at the par-4 17th, the “Road Hole.” His second shot missed short, and he had to putt around a pot bunker up onto the green to set up a 10-foot par putt.

Young, the PGA Tour rookie making his Open debut, drove the 18th green and drained a 17-foot eagle putt to increase the pressure on Smith. The Australian got up and down for a short birdie, and McIlroy couldn’t pull out a must-have eagle at No. 18.

“I feel like I can breathe,” Smith said. “These last four or five holes aren’t easy around here, especially with the wind up off the left. … Yeah, just really proud of how I kind of knuckled down today and managed to get it done.”

Smith also fired a 64 Friday to take the 36-hole lead, but a 73 on Saturday sent him tumbling four shots behind McIlroy and Norway’s Viktor Hovland.

Hovland went toe to toe with McIlroy Saturday, when they both shot rounds of 66 and took a four-shot co-lead. But on Sunday, Hovland didn’t make a birdie until No. 12 and posted a 2-over 74. He tied for fourth at 14 under with England’s Tommy Fleetwood (67).

Neither McIlroy nor Hovland made any big putts on the front nine, converting just one birdie between them. Hovland hit a poor approach shot at No. 4 and three-putted for bogey, making McIlroy the solo leader.

McIlroy capitalized on the next hole, a par 5, by reaching the green in two and landing a birdie while Hovland parred. McIlroy drove the green at the par-4 10th and two-putted for his second birdie to get to 18 under before Smith’s charge began.

Young posted five birdies and two bogeys before his electric eagle at the last. The 25-year-old notched his second top-three major finish this year after finishing a stroke out of the playoff at the PGA Championship in May.

“I think I said at the PGA, one of these times I’ll shoot 5 under on the back and that will be enough,” Young said. “And today I did. And it wasn’t. So I guess one of these times I’ll shoot 6 (under) on the back on Sunday and that will be enough.”

Brian Harman (66) and Dustin Johnson (69) finished at 13 under, tied for sixth. Bryson DeChambeau (66), Jordan Spieth (68) and Patrick Cantlay (68) were T8 at 12 under.

Mexico’s Abraham Ancer and Thailand’s Sadom Kaewkanjana fired 65s early in the day to reach 11 under; they finished in a tie for 11th with South Africa’s Dean Burmester (66) and England’s Tyrrell Hatton (68).

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King Charles to deliver opening address at COP28 in Dubai

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King Charles III is to make an opening speech at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, Buckingham Palace announced on Wednesday. The monarch will address world leaders at the opening ceremony on December 1. After his speech, he will “take the opportunity to have meetings with regional leaders”, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said. The king, who is widely known for his environmental activism, was invited to Cop28 by President Sheikh Mohamed.

King Charles III is famous for his love of the environment, and he has been an advocate for organic farming and preventing climate change. He will attend the COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, which runs alongside the event. He will also speak at COP28 on 1 December and is expected to share his vision for the future. He is no stranger to sharing these views with world leaders, as he previously spoke at Glasgow’s COP26 in 2021 and COP21 in Paris in 2025.

In 1989, the then Prince Charles and Princess Diana undertook their first trip to the UAE. The nine-day tour included visits to Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The pair met Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father of the UAE, at his majlis in Al Ain. 

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UAE’s historic space mission ends with astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s return

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UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi and his fellow Crew-6 members have successfully returned to Earth, concluding their historic space mission. The crew members safely disembarked from the Dragon Endeavour spacecraft with assistance from SpaceX recovery personnel. Al Neyadi, the last to exit the spacecraft, completed the process exactly one hour after the splashdown.

Crew-6’s remarkable space mission spanned an impressive 186 days, setting a new record as the longest mission in Arab history. The Dragon capsule made a secure touchdown off the Florida coast at 8:17 am on a Monday, with Al Neyadi emerging from the Dragon spacecraft just an hour later. During this mission, Al Neyadi achieved significant milestones, elevating the UAE’s status in the global space arena. He completed the longest-ever space mission by an Arab, spending six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and conducting groundbreaking scientific experiments for the betterment of humanity and scientific advancement.

As Sultan Al Neyadi, the UAE’s second astronaut, emerged from the Dragon spacecraft, he greeted onlookers with a smile and a wave. It’s worth noting that astronauts returning from extended periods in space often experience an adjustment period as they readapt to Earth’s gravity. The recovery process for the crew may take up to two hours to ensure their well-being after this remarkable mission.

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UAE’s economic agreements with Turkey and Indonesia spring into action

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is entering a new era of economic collaboration with two rapidly growing global players as it activates two of its Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPAs). The UAE-Türkiye CEPA and the UAE-Indonesia CEPA have officially come into force, setting the stage for enhanced trade and investment cooperation.

The primary goal of these CEPAs is to foster economic ties by doubling non-oil trade. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA aims to elevate bilateral non-oil trade to an impressive $40 billion within five years, while the UAE’s CEPA with Indonesia seeks to push non-oil trade beyond $10 billion within the same timeframe. These agreements also aim to facilitate investment projects valued at $10 billion in various sectors.

In the words of HE Al-Zeyoudi, “The implementation of our CEPAs with Türkiye and Indonesia marks a significant step forward in our foreign trade program. Both agreements will unlock significant opportunities for our private sector in two of the world’s most dynamic centers of growth.”

These CEPAs are the third and fourth of their kind to come into force for the UAE, following successful agreements with India in May 2022 and Israel in April 2023. They are a testament to the UAE’s foreign trade agenda, strategically forging robust economic connections with nations of global importance. Both CEPAs promise to reduce or remove tariffs on a wide range of goods, eliminate trade barriers, and create pathways for investments in vital sectors like logistics, energy, food production, fintech, e-commerce, and travel and tourism.

The UAE-Indonesia CEPA, inked in Abu Dhabi in July 2022, aims to significantly boost bilateral non-oil trade from $4.08 billion to over $10 billion within five years. Additionally, the agreement targets a combined trade in services worth $630 million by 2030. Notably, over 80 percent of UAE exports to Indonesia will now be exempt from customs duties under this pact. This partnership also has an eye on nurturing the rapidly expanding Islamic economy, projected to reach $3.2 trillion by 2024. It will accelerate investment projects worth $10 billion across sectors like agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and logistics. The UAE-Türkiye CEPA is equally impactful, having eliminated or reduced customs duties on 82 percent of product lines, accounting for more than 93 percent of bilateral non-oil trade. Türkiye was the UAE’s fastest-growing top ten trading partner in 2022, witnessing a 40 percent increase in non-oil trade to $18.9 billion. The newly liberalized trade environment is set to drive this figure to an impressive $40 billion within the next five years.

HE Al Zeyoudi also stressed that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements play a vital role in attaining the nation’s objectives, in particular the vision laid out in “We The UAE 2031”, which seeks to double the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade to AED4 trillion and elevate national exports to AED800 billion. The recently published statistics from H1, 2023, which show a record non-oil foreign trade value of AED1.239 trillion for the first six months of the year, demonstrate that the UAE is firmly on track – and that the CEPA program will help maintain this upward trajectory.

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