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Stars spotting begins in Abu Dhabi for IIFA 2023

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The C quotient from Bollywood dominated the W Hotel at the Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with celebrity actors and singers trooping in for the press conference of the International Indian Film Academy Awards which will be held over the weekend for a successive time in the UAE capital.

After the unprecedented success of IIFA 2022, the 2023 Sobha IIFA Weekend and Nexa IIFA Awards, partnered by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and Miral, are back in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, by popular demand. The prestigious car brand Nexa continues as the title sponsor for a seventh consecutive edition. This year it will share title rights with Sobha Realty and the event will be co-powered by the Kuber Group.

The event will take place at the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, Etihad Arena, part of Yas Bay Waterfront on Yas Island. The Island is one of the world’s fastest-growing leisure and entertainment destinations.

Home to magical adventures and awe-inspiring entertainment, as well as three globally renowned theme parks, outstanding motorsports, an award-winning golf venue and world-class hospitality services, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, is a destination like nowhere else.

 

 

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Addressing the press conference were this year’s hosts Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal, Farah Khan and Rajkummar Rao. Performers Salman Khan, Rakul Preet Singh, Nora Fatehi, Jacqueline Fernandez, Amit Trivedi, Badshah, Nucleya, Sunidhi Chauhan and Salman Khan’s girlfriend Iulia Vantur made an appearance.

Joining them were PNC Menon, Taghrid Al Saeed, Executive Director of Group Communications and Destination Marketing at Miral, Hans Fraikin – Film and Television Commissioner and Sandeep Walia, among other dignitaries for the highly anticipated event that promises to be a mélange of glitz and glamour.

IIFA 2023 will kickstart the mega celebrations on Friday evening with Sobha IIFA Rocks, hosted by Farah Khan Kunder and Rajkummar Rao, and will feature performances by Amit Trivedi, along with several popular singers, Badshah, Sunidhi Chauhan, Nucleya and Sukhbir Singh.

The most highly awaited special addition this year is the premiere of an exclusive showcase by leading celebrity designer, Manish Malhotra, who is celebrating 25 years in the fashion industry.

Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of eIndia.com. Now managing editor of Headline.ae, part of MEMc (https://www.memc.co)

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UFC Fight Night set for August 3 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi

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UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, returns to Abu Dhabi for an action-packed fight as No. 2 ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen faces No. 9 ranked Umar Nurmagomedov on August 3.

Tickets for the event, to be held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), go on sale on Tuesday via etihadarena.ae and ticketmaster.ae.

Sandhagen (17-4, fighting out of Aurora, Colorado) returns to the UAE capital to cement his status as top contender in the bantamweight division. The Colorado native boasts wins over Rob Font, Chito Vera, and soon-to-be UFC Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar. He now hopes for a convincing win over rising star Nurmagomedov to make his case for a title shot.

Nurmagomedov (17-0, fighting out of Chelyabinsk, Russia) looks to put the division on notice by taking out a top-ranked opponent and making his first Octagon appearance in Abu Dhabi.

Nurmagomedov made his mark in the division after delivering dominant performances over Raoni Barcelos, Brian Kelleher and Sergey Morozov. Now, he sets his sights on securing the biggest win of his career by getting his hand raised against Sandhagen.

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Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya to build ‘Aquarabia’, region’s largest water theme park

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Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC) has unveiled plans for Aquarabia, Saudi Arabia’s groundbreaking water theme park, set to open in 2025 alongside Six Flags Qiddiya City, marking a significant milestone in entertainment and tourism development.

Aquarabia, designed to embody the essence of Saudi hospitality and adventure, will feature an array of thrilling attractions, including four world-record-breaking rides and immersive experiences tailored for families. Complementing this, Six Flags Qiddiya City promises an adrenaline-fueled experience with its twenty-eight rides and attractions, including five record-breaking coasters.

Both parks, situated within Qiddiya City, will offer visitors a seamless and exhilarating entertainment experience, supported by innovative design and sustainability initiatives. With an expected creation of 10,000 jobs and a focus on environmental conservation, these developments align with Saudi Vision 2030’s goals, contributing to economic diversification and fostering local tourism.

Aquarabia and Six Flags Qiddiya City exemplify Qiddiya City’s commitment to sustainability by incorporating state-of-the-art technology for water use and waste management. These initiatives underscore Qiddiya City’s role as a master-planned destination dedicated to creating unforgettable experiences while prioritizing environmental stewardship.

The launch of Aquarabia signifies yet another milestone in Qiddiya City’s journey to becoming a global entertainment hub, offering diverse attractions that cater to the evolving needs of visitors and residents alike.

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Sushi-making with a ME twist at SCRF inspires young chefs

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 An interesting and kid-friendly version of the famous Japanese sushi has been a highlight of the cookery workshops at the 15th edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF), whose 15th annual edition is running until May 12 in Expo Centre Sharjah.

Armed with rolling pins, over a dozen young chefs set about flattening bread slices after chopping off their crust; then they squirted blobs of cream cheese on each slice and spread it to make the perfect bed for a thin slice of cucumber, sprinkled zaatar to spice up the rendition before rolling and securing it with a toothpick. 

Some even cut each rolled slice into smaller pieces to make it a tidy snack.

Aptly named “Divine Sushi Sandwich”, the preparation was truly divine for its nutritious quotient, ease of making and presentation. According to its creator Lamia Msallam, the sandwich made in sushi style is a safe and healthy option for young children. 

After four days of sandwich making, a “Mini Sushi Cake” workshop will engage children for the next four days, followed by another new dish with the same focus on healthy eating. The Palestinian chef added that she will use the nori paper used in sushi making for the ‘cake’ but without rolling it like in traditional sushi preparations.

The 15th edition, which runs from May 1-12, has the theme “Once Upon a Hero”. The 12-day action-packed festival for young readers, artists and creatives as well as their families showcases millions of books including latest releases in children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature from across the globe. 

SCRF 2024 is also offering the region’s largest platform for cultural and artistic appreciation with theatrical performances, culinary demonstrations, workshops in STEM, social media, music, and several exciting competitions, activities, animation events.

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