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SCRF: Grandma tales fame Sudha Murty looks at audiobook to connect with children

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Celebrated author, educator and philanthropist Sudha Murty left a packed hall of all age groups at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF) captivated and craving for more just as her books do even at the age of 72.

Her session, titled ‘Tales of Grandma’, was the highlight of the day and the organisers even had to shut the doors midway into the session after the alleys also filled up with people standing. Many trooped in a little late because there were no clear directions on the agenda.

The love and affection from the children and parents alike, clamouring for pictures, blessings and signed autographs on her books, became so overbearing that the SCRF security had to called it off fearing a stampede on the dias.

Ms Murty, awarded India’s highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan last month, regaled the audience with tales as a grandmother would. Asked to choose a favourite among her published works, she said: “It is difficult to ask a mother to choose between her children, and my books are my children.” the author of 44 books (29 in English and 15 in Kannada) acknowledged that she now releases one book a year.

The Intellectual Hall at the Expo Centre was packed to the rafters. SCRF

To an interesting question about embracing technology through mediums such as podcasts to deliver her stories, Ms Murty gave a revealing confession. “I have always been comfortable just writing. Lately, I have been told that I need to look into new formats to share my stories. Podcasts are not for me. However, I recently requested my daughter to look into the possibility of audiobooks”.

Ms Murty’s advice to the young audience is to develop hobbies. “It can be anything, even one is fine if you pursue it in all earnest without letting your studies get affected. In fact, the hobby will help you focus on your studies, while also helping you become a better person.”

For the uninitiated, most of Ms Murty’s books are based on her real-life experiences, and hence “non-fiction to a large extent,” she said. Among her latest works has been a three-book set: Gopi Diaries. Citing the latest trilogy as an example, Ms Murty revealed that Gopi in the book is actually his dog. She also shared anecdotes of how the dog was initially unwanted, but ended up becoming “my son” within a year of entering the household.

Ms Murty is a philanthropist and wife of tech multinational Infosys head Narayan Murthy. Their daughter Akshata is married to British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Recently, a video of her casual chat about Sunak went viral.

House of Wisdom visit

The author then visited the House of Wisdom (HoW), Sharjah’s iconic cultural centre and futuristic library, where she was introduced to the emirate’s efforts to promote culture, knowledge and innovation amongst the younger generation in the UAE and beyond. She sifted through HoW’s exhaustive physical and digital archives and was briefed on the various programmes and initiatives led by HoW to stimulate imaginations and boost cross-cultural understanding and exchange.

As part of her tour through HoW’s world-class facilities, Ms Murty stopped at the Little Reader section, where she was briefed on the events and workshops that are designed exclusively for children in order to develop their skills in a variety of areas. She also reviewed the wide-ranging collection of children and young adult titles in English, Arabic and other languages.

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e& life joins Dubai FinTech Summit as a Powered By sponsor

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: e& life, the business pillar of e& that brings the next-generation digital world to the consumer’s fingertips, has joined theDubai FinTech Summit (DFS), organised by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global Financial Centre in the MEASA region. As a Powered By sponsor, e& life is dedicated to supporting innovative and future-thinking businesses on a global scale.

e& life leverages cutting-edge technologies to offer fintech, entertainment, retail, and mobility services through its smart platforms and apps.  Their fintech arm, e& money, has become a regional powerhouse, known for its user-friendly mobile financial services and its position as the UAE’s fastest-growing issuer of Mastercard debit cards.

Mohammad Alblooshi, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Innovation Hub, said, “The path to true innovation lies in collaboration and the Dubai FinTech Summit strives to bring together global leaders, innovators and disruptive start-ups to shape the future of finance. The alliance between the summit and e& life demonstrates our mutual commitment to fostering a dynamic FinTech ecosystem to strengthen Dubai’s existing reputation as a leading business destination. Transforming challenges into opportunities, our goal is to create the most advanced, inclusive and technologically empowered financial community.”

Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer at e& life, said, “The Middle East is at the forefront of a major transformation in financial services delivery, driven by technology shifting from traditional to innovative solutions. As a pioneer in the region’s flourishing FinTech sector, e& is driven by a bold vision to lead this change.

“Through strategic partnerships, we aim to fast-track progress and take the region’s FinTech potential to new heights. This partnership represents a valuable opportunity for both e& and its FinTech portfolio under the business pillar e& life to collectively imagine new possibilities, inspire breakthrough ideas, and catalyse impactful innovations. By bringing together the talent and resources within our ecosystems, we can accelerate the journey toward a future where financial services truly empower people across societies. We look forward to contributing our expertise to shaping discussions that will steer the direction of the industry and play a role in realising the UAE’s aspiration to become a global hub for financial innovation.”

In line with the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) to position Dubai as the top four global financial hub by 2033, the 2nd edition of the Dubai FinTech Summit is designed to encourage cross-border collaboration and innovation, pivotal to transforming the global FinTech sector. It presents a unique opportunity to explore emerging FinTech trends and their potential to drive financial progress in the MEASA region.

The Dubai FinTech Summit, scheduled for May 6-7, 2024, at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, will see an unprecedented gathering of over 8,000 decision-makers, over 300 thought leaders and over 200 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge technologies.

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How World Championship of Legends will change legends cricket forever

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Cricket enthusiasts worldwide are witnessing a groundbreaking shift in the legendary game of cricket through the World Championship of Legends. Here’s why this championship is reshaping the cricketing landscape

Firstly, it stands out as the only league in its category approved by a Test Playing Nation. This validation brings a new level of prestige and authenticity to the championship.

Secondly, the matches are set to unfold on the iconic grounds of Edgbaston. These hallowed cricketing grounds hold a rich history and add an aura of grandeur to the championship.

One of the distinctive features of this league is that players will proudly don their country’s colors while competing. This patriotic display adds a layer of pride and passion to the matches, fostering a deeper connection with fans.

A highlight of the championship is the India versus Pakistan clash, a rivalry steeped in cricketing lore. This showdown not only ignites the competitive spirit but also captures the imagination of fans worldwide.
Moreover, the championship boasts an extensive pool of cricketers, including legends like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Suresh Raina, Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, and many others. This diverse lineup ensures fierce competition and thrilling performances on the field.

Cricketing legend Kevin Pietersen current player for England Champions at WCL, shares, “I can’t wait to feel the energy of Edgbaston. It is truly one of the exciting atmospheres to be in, especially when you are playing for England at one of the prestigious venues of cricket. Edgbaston is known to have one of the most passionate crowds, and I am excited to be in action.”

Cricketing icon Brett Lee, playing for Australia Champions, shares, ‘I am beyond proud to be a part of World Championship of Legends. Putting on my country’s colors back again and playing on one of the leading venues of world cricket, Edgbaston, is about representing the pride and passion of millions of fans while giving it my all on the field.’

Sharing more on playing for Australia Champions, Brett Lee shares, “Playing for the World Championship of Legends is not just a privilege, it’s a reminder of the honor and passion that fuels the game.”

What sets this league apart is its inclusion of not just retired players but also those who are not currently signed with their respective cricket boards. This inclusion of free agents adds an element of unpredictability and toughness to the competition, making every match a must-watch spectacle.

Adding to the league’s allure is Bollywood megastar Ajay Devgn, who has invested in the championship, further elevating its profile and appeal. This partnership has garnered significant interest, evident in the sale of tickets worth 125K USD on the very first day.

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‘Mohammad Amir helped me learn reverse swing during DP World ILT20,’ says Muhammad Jawadullah

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For Muhammad Jawadullah, a rising star in UAE national side, the exposure at the recently concluded DP World ILT20 Season 2 was all about learning leaps and bounds from stalwarts in international cricket. He particularly cherishes the time he spent with Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir who represented the Desert Vipers, calling Amir his ‘guide.’

“I have been working on reverse swing and Mohammad Amir has been a guide for me. I was fortunate to learn from his skill and expertise. It does require a lot of effort, but I am getting better with each session. In the UAE, fast bowlers sometimes struggle in the middle and death overs, so I think reverse swing is a very good option for us.”

Jawadullah cemented his status as a promising figure in the Sharjah Warriors’ bowling line-up during the exhilarating Season 2 of the DP World ILT20. The tournament finished with the MI Emirates lifting the glittering trophy in front of a packed Dubai International Stadium on Saturday, 17 February.

Though Sharjah Warriors campaign didn’t go as planned in season 2 of the DP World ILT20, Jawadullah believes there were a lot of positive from this outing. “It is not the result we wanted, but when we look back at the season, there are a lot of positives and lessons from it. I think we lost a few critical matches in the middle phases and that made things difficult for us,” he added.

Elaborating on his individual performance, the 25-year-old said, “I was quite happy with the pace I was generating throughout the tournament. I was consistently bowling at the 140 kmph mark, sometimes even touching 145 kmph. The first two matches I went wicketless, so my focus was to keep my pace and hit the right lengths, once I started doing that my performance improved.”

Ending the season with an enviable tally of 10 wickets in just eight matches, at an impressive strike rate of 13, Jawadullah, the left-arm pacer once again proved his mettle with the ball. His stellar performance positioned him as a strong contender for the “Best UAE Player” accolade for the second consecutive season, securing yet another spot in the top 10 rankings. Jawadullah’s standout moment came when he showcased his bowling prowess with figures of 3/5 in a gripping match against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders.

Jawadullah made his debut in professional cricket at the inaugural season of the DP World ILT20. Months later he was debuting for the UAE national side. He praised the ECB’s initiative of the DP World ILT20 and called it a catalyst for unearthing and growing talent in the region. “It is a massive opportunity for young players in the UAE. I think it is one of the best leagues in the world in terms of quality. Unlike other leagues, franchises are only mandated a minimum of two local players, as a result the overall quality of the league is very high and therefore it helps us improve quicker.”

He further added, “I think the next frontier for us as UAE players is to use these opportunities to find our way in leagues around the world and make an impact while also helping UAE improve more and more as an international team.”

Shedding light on an area of focus for him, the pacer emphasized on restoring his fitness to a 100 percent following a recent surgery. “It is a challenging time for any professional athlete when they are nursing an injury. Not able to work on your game and practice can be tough physically and mentally. I am just sticking to the process and hopefully will be back in action in about 2-3 months. I am confident that I will be back to my best once I recover fully.”

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