Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003).
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003).

My favourite reads: Dania Saadi



I have a passion for travel and many of the books I read are related to the writer’s journeys or are novels I have read during my globe-trotting. I think travel expands your horizons and a book is a vignette into countries you aspire to know and wander through its streets.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)

Imagine abandoning everything you know and own, and wandering off into nature to live like a cave man. Anyone’s dream? Maybe not. But in 1992, Christopher McCandless, an American graduate, did just that, abandoning his family and all his possessions to hunt and live in the Alaskan wilderness. Before venturing on his survival journey, he wanders through the US and strikes up friendships. All this time, his parents are wildly searching for him and trying to understand why their son would do such a thing.

The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi (2008)

Scene: an Afghan woman sits in a room talking to her wounded husband, who is in a coma because of a bullet to this neck. As she recounts to him her memories and her plight, he turns into the Sange Sabour – a magical Patience stone that absorbs the pain of those who confide in it. Author Atiq Rahimi, a French-Afghan writer, minces no words in this novella: he talks about sexuality and the status of women in Afghanistan.

The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara (1995)

Two Argentinian lads and a motorcycle dubbed the Mighty One set out to discover South America. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. This memoir from the famous Argentinian freedom fighter is more than just a diary. It tells how Ernesto Guevara came of age by experiencing first-hand how South Americans toiled to make a living in a rich continent. The recounting of his journey is peppered with their adventures of flirting, hitchhiking, and exploring the beauty that is South America.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (2003)

Travelling is always an adventure but it takes long rides on trains and buses to get from point A to B. What better way to while away the time than to read a nearly 1000-page book about a journey of self-discovery in India. My travels in India helped me enjoy the book more, whether through the meandering in the crowded streets of Mumbai, chillaxing on Chowpatty beach, or striding through the Dhobi Ghat, the open-air laundry area of the city.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2003)

Let me confess. This is a tear jerker for sure. But two kids flying kites in the then-peaceful Afghan capital of Kabul will bring back strange and happy memories of sour cherry marmalade topping naan bread. What could be more delicious? But the reality of Afghanistan sets in, with its twists and turns of a fallen Afghan monarchy, Soviet military intervention, and exodus to the US. The novel talks about a tense father-son relationship, the betrayal of friendships, and the pain of atoning sins.

Dania Saadi is The National’s  Deputy Business Editor

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The bio

Favourite food: Japanese

Favourite car: Lamborghini

Favourite hobby: Football

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough

Favourite country: UAE

The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

CHINESE GRAND PRIX STARTING GRID

1st row 
Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari)

2nd row 
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-GP)
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP)

3rd row 
Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing)
Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing)

4th row 
Nico Hulkenberg (Renault)
Sergio Perez (Force India)

5th row 
Carlos Sainz Jr (Renault)
Romain Grosjean (Haas)

6th row 
Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
Esteban Ocon (Force India)

7th row 
Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren)

8th row 
Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso)
Sergey Sirotkin (Williams)

9th row 
Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso)
Lance Stroll (Williams)

10th row 
Charles Leclerc (Sauber)
arcus Ericsson (Sauber)

Dhadak

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Ashutosh Rana

Stars: 3

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

SCHEDULE

6.30pm Maiden Dh165,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
7.05pm: Handicap Dh170,000 (D) 1,600m
7.40pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m
8.15pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 1,200m
8.50pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 2,000m
9.25pm:Handicap Dh185,000 (D) 1,400m
 
Amith's predicted winners:
6.30pm: Down On Da Bayou
7.05pm: Etisalat
7.40pm: Mulfit
8.15pm: Pennsylvania Dutch
8.50pm: Mudallel
9.25pm: Midnight Sands

Biography

Favourite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Holiday choice: Anything Disney-related

Proudest achievement: Receiving a presidential award for foreign services.

Family: Wife and three children.

Like motto: You always get what you ask for, the universe listens.

'Falling for Christmas'

Director: Janeen Damian

Stars: Lindsay Lohan, Chord Overstreet, Jack Wagner, Aliana Lohan

Rating: 1/5

How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

Turkish Ladies

Various artists, Sony Music Turkey 

Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham 

Rating: 3/5

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

How it works

1) The liquid nanoclay is a mixture of water and clay that aims to convert desert land to fertile ground

2) Instead of water draining straight through the sand, it apparently helps the soil retain water

3) One application is said to last five years

4) The cost of treatment per hectare (2.4 acres) of desert varies from $7,000 to $10,000 per hectare 

Ponti

Sharlene Teo, Pan Macmillan

Results

2.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 1,700m; Winner: AF Mezmar, Adam McLean (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer).

3pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 2,000m; Winner: AF Ajwad, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel.

3.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh40,000 1,200m; Winner: Gold Silver, Sam Hitchcott, Ibrahim Aseel.

4pm: Maiden (PA) Dh40,000 1,000m; Winner: Atrash, Richard Mullen, Ana Mendez.

4.30pm: Gulf Cup Prestige (PA) Dh150,000 1,700m; Winner: AF Momtaz, Saif Al Balushi, Musabah Al Muhairi.

5pm: Handicap (TB) Dh40,000 1,200m; Winner: Al Mushtashar, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

WORLD CUP SEMI-FINALS

England v New Zealand (Saturday, 12pm)

Wales v South Africa (Sunday, 1pm)

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

'Panga'

Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Starring Kangana Ranaut, Richa Chadha, Jassie Gill, Yagya Bhasin, Neena Gupta

Rating: 3.5/5

Scorline

Iraq 1-0 UAE

Iraq Hussein 28’

The Roundup

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Ma Dong-seok, Sukku Son, Choi Gwi-hwa
Rating: 4/5

The Greatest Royal Rumble card

50-man Royal Rumble - names entered so far include Braun Strowman, Daniel Bryan, Kurt Angle, Big Show, Kane, Chris Jericho, The New Day and Elias

Universal Championship Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns in a steel cage match

WWE World Heavyweight ChampionshipAJ Styles (champion) v Shinsuke Nakamura

Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

United States Championship Jeff Hardy (champion) v Jinder Mahal

SmackDown Tag Team Championship The Bludgeon Brothers (champions) v The Usos

Raw Tag Team Championship (currently vacant) Cesaro and Sheamus v Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt

Casket match The Undertaker v Rusev

Singles match John Cena v Triple H

Cruiserweight Championship Cedric Alexander v Kalisto

It

Director: Andres Muschietti

Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor

Three stars

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures


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