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Sheikh Mohamed gets congratulatory messages from world




Main image of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Credit: Tamim Hayyal Abazid/

Headline staff

Leaders from around the world have sent their congratulatory messages to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on taking over the presidency mantle in the UAE. The change in leadership follows the death of the predecessor Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, who led the UAE through an era of change since 2004.

Sheikh Mohamed has been the de factor leader for quite some time now after Sheikh Khalifa suffered a stroke in 2014, and most of the leaders have interacted with Sheikh Mohamed in recent years.

With the relations taking a formal note, the leaders have sent their wishes while French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived in Abu Dhabi to congratulate Sheikh Mohamed in person while also bidding farewell to Sheikh Khalifa.

Leaders from the nearby countries have also reached Abu Dhabi and the perfect statesman Sheikh Mohamed has been personally meeting them at the Presidential Airport wherever possible.

Among the leaders who have arrived are:

  • Sultan Haitham of Oman
  • Abdel Fattah El Sisi, President of Egypt
  • King Abdullah II of Jordan
  • Barham Salih, President of Iraq, and Mustafa Al Kadhimi, Prime Minister of Iraq
  • Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon
  • Kais Saied, President of Tunisia
  • Aymen Benabderrahmane, Prime Minister of Algeria
  • General Abdel Fattal Al Burhan, President of the Transitional Sovereign Council of Sudan
  • Mansour Azzam, Representative of the President of Syria

World hails MBZ

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent in his congratulations along with his father, King Salman, who had a colonoscopy operation last week and is recuperating.

Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defence also called on Sunday to wish the President good luck and hoped for further progress under his leadership.

Others to express their messages through social media or those shared by state news agency WAM are:
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
“I am confident that under his dynamic and visionary leadership, our Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will continue to deepen.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping
“We are ready to work with the new president to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership for the benefit of the two countries and their peoples”.

The UK’s Queen Elizabeth II
“While it is under sorrowful circumstances, I offer my sincere and warmest congratulations on your appointment as President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. I look forward to the continuation of the strong and historic bonds between our two countries and peoples.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis
“Warmest congratulations to Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, a close friend of Greece, on his election as President of the UAE. I wish him from my heart every success in his new high duties, for the benefit of his country, his people and the region.”

Pakistan’s President Arif Alvi
“Pakistan values its fraternal relations with the UAE. I hope under his leadership fraternal relations between the two countries will be further strengthened.”

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari
“Your predecessor made a mark in the impressive transformation of the UAE, making it a vast business and tourist attraction, building infrastructure and creating one of the best living standards in the world. I’m confident that you are going to build on this great legacy. Nigeria looks forward to greater co-operation with the UAE which has tremendously helped Nigeria.”

Italian President Sergio Mattarella
“On the occasion of your election to the Presidency of the Federation of the United Arab Emirates, I would like to convey to you, on my own behalf and on behalf of the entire Italian people, my warmest congratulations and my best wishes for your success in carrying out the high office entrusted to you. The articulate partnership between our countries is based on ancient ties, which I am sure we will continue to deepen, guided also by our common interest in peace, stability and progress in the region.”

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Want to be a millionaire in the UAE? Punch the Big Ticket to a new life




Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket lottery draw is the oldest, tried and still trusted, and hence ruling roost despite emerging competition, the hosts of the draw have said at an event in Dubai.

Still going with their first names, Richard and Bouchra, introduced four winners from different backgrounds and for different amounts in front of some media representatives at One Life Cafe on Wednesday in an effort to reach out to the masses.


Richard, left, and Bouchra host Abu Dhabi’s Big Ticket draw on the third of each month. Photos Red Havas ME

“We are the oldest one; we are the only one that never changed our format; we are transparent and we declare our prizes at the start of it and irrespective of how many tickets are sold we give away the prize – guaranteed – in full view of everyone; and there is no rollover,” says Richard. “We get a winner regardless of anything from the name picked out of the drum (of tickets) in front of you, all secured and audited for.”

Originally conducted by the Abu Dhabi Airport Company, the Big Ticket moved under the aegis of Abu Dhabi Duty Free, a similar branding as their counterparts in Dubai.

There is no denying the fact that the Big Ticket has had to evolve a bit going with competition with Mahzooz and Emirates Draw coming in with their own varying formats.

However, with varying amounts each month, Big Ticket has changed lives of thousands with many people clubbing together in the hope to punch the big ticket to fulfil their dreams. This year alone, Big Ticket awarded 60 cash prize winners, whose winnings equate to a total prize value of over AED110 million.

“We are indeed privileged to be life-changers for many and it is such a satisfying job,” says Bouchra. Both hosts had plenty of anecdotes to share of people’s reactions and disbelief. There have been instances when Big Ticket had to go out of the way and spread out messages in public for the winners to get in touch.

“In the rare occurrence that we don’t find the winner – it has happened for the lesser prizes only – we wait for six months before giving it to charity,” a marketing official explained without being named because he was not authorised to speak.

The experiences of the winners gathered separately vouched for the efforts of Big Ticket as they shared their initial feeling of numbness and reality sinking in late for couple of them.

There were inspiring stories of Leena Jalal, Jacob Roy, Shahid Mahmood, and Safwan Nizameddin, a passport holder of St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean.

“They say that Big Ticket only favours only one or two nationalities, but I am testimony to the fact that it is for everyone. One should have the belief,” said Nizameddin, the oldest of the four but the latest grand prize winner.

Lives changed

Leena, an Indian expat currently residing in Abu Dhabi, shared that she bought the ticket only days prior to the draw with many of her colleagues and friends, and was the luckiest one whose name was chosen after months of trying. Leena seeks to make a difference, just like Big Ticket, and is currently in talks with local charities to donate a percentage of her winnings, while the remaining amount will go towards supporting her family back home.

Jacob, another Indian expat residing in Abu Dhabi since 1990, discussed his commitment to a group of 12 friends that have been pitching in to purchase Big Ticket raffles on a monthly basis, for five years. He won Dh300,000 representing a group of buyers. “I tell others, consider buying the ticket as a job. We are all here as expats to change our lives and BT can do that for us. I and few others also chip in with extra if we have to make up the necessary amount at times.”

Shahid Mahmood is a Dubai-based Pakistani employee working at a glass installation company. After five years of buying BT raffles every month, Shahid received the winning phone call that made his and his friend’s dreams come true with a Dh15m purse.


Four Big Ticket winners and the event emcee Lekha Menon in Dubai. From left: Ms Menon, Leena Jalal, Shahid Mahmood, Jacob Roy and Safwan Nizameddin shared their experiences

A longtime resident of Abu Dhabi, Nizameddin has been purchasing tickets every month for the past two years. When the call came, Safwan says his sixth sense kicked in and he instinctually knew he had finally won. The executive manager of a company specializing in power generation is a family man at heart. He plans to use his winnings to purchase properties for his three children as an investment in their future and some for charity.

On a side note, regular buyers of Big Ticket have been curious to know the logic behind different prize amounts each month. Having started at one million dirhams, the highest on offer has been Dh25m although it 10-20 is the common range. Initially, Richard said “the idea behind it is to give it fresh a look, I guess”, but when prodded further, he conceded he wasn’t sure and never checked with his employers.

Nonetheless, the prizes given out on the third of each month remain substantial and undoubtedly have changed many lives.

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Upgraded VAR for offside at World Cup 2022 after trials in UAE and Qatar




The Aspire Dome Stadium in Doha, Qatar

Qatar 2022 will be the first FIFA men’s World Cup to use semi-automated offside technology as part of a wider innovation plan at the tournament.

FIFA says the new system will offer “a support tool for the video match officials and the on-field officials to help them make faster, more accurate and more reproducible offside decisions on the biggest stage of all”.

The tech was tested at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup and 2021 FIFA Club World Cup ahead of being rolled out later this year.

Off-pitch officials will receive potential onside/offside alerts, with decisions evaluated away from the action before being communicated to the on-pitch referee to make a final decision.

Fans will also be shown how and why decisions are made via 3D animations on screen inside the stadiums with television viewers provided with an explanation.

The technology is more complex than current VAR and provides more ‘eyes’ on the action to give referees greater help.

Twelve dedicated tracking cameras — mounted in the stadium roof — will track the ball in play, and up to 29 data points will be placed on each player, 50 times per second, calculating their exact position on the pitch.

Those data points will map each relevant point on a player’s body, which can be considered active, to create a full picture of an offside call.

Alongside this, extra cameras will pinpoint player positions, and moving images of their bodies, while the new World Cup match ball will also play a role.

Each Al Rihla Official World Cup match ball will have a sensor placed inside it to send data to the video operation room 500 times per second to accurately assess the point the ball is struck.

Information on the selected kick point from the in-ball sensor, together with data points from cameras, provides an instant picture of the offside scenario to the officials in the video team and allows for a faster decision to be made.

Watch the explainer video:


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UAE weather warning as rains lash parts of country





Authorities in the UAE on Tuesday cautioned residents and motorists about unstable weather conditions as parts of the country witnessed hail and rainstorms. UAE’s weather department reported heavy rains and strong winds over some Eastern areas.

The National Centre of Meteorology posted a video of a rain-drenched Al Ain desert on its social media. Al Hili, Masakin, Al Shikla areas in Al Ain are some of areas are experiencing a heavy downpour.

All the posts by the department have the hashtag #cloud_seeding, suggesting that the authorities have been using the rain enhancement technique in the country. It is likely why the country is experiencing heavy rains in peak summer. The temperatures recorded in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are 35ºC and 37ºC, respectively.

The Ministry of Interior and Abu Dhabi Police called on drivers to be cautious and follow the changing speed limits displayed on electronic information boards. Motorists have also been warned to watch out for debris and flying objects in high-speed winds.

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