An Indian Border Security Force soldier stands guard near a fence on the India- Bangladesh border at Thakuranbari village, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. Chief Minister of Assam state Sarbananda Sonowal has sought help from the central government in sealing the porous border, one of the core issues of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in Assam. (AP Photo/ Anupam Nath)
Divisions: a security force soldier stands guard on the India-Bangladesh border in Assam. AP

Review: 'Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls' by Tim Marshall



“If you had to choose a moment in history to be born,” Barack Obama told an audi­ence in Athens during his final overseas visits as president of the United States in November 2016, “you’d choose now”. Obama’s optimism was out of step with his surroundings. Riot police were busy restraining thousands of Greek protesters as Obama proclaimed confidently that the world had never “been wealthier, better educated, healthier, less violent than it is today”.

It is a message amplified by the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in his books The Better Angels of Our Nature (2015) and Enlightenment Now (2018), and there is now a loose consortium of influential academics, pundits and businesspeople known as "New Optimists" dedicated to promoting the proposition that we are living in the best of times. If they are all correct, how do we explain what looks and feels like the world's collective descent into chaos over the past decade-and-a-half?

The optimists overlook the experience of a substantial mass of humanity for whom the world – even after being purged of the ills of the past centuries and endowed with modern technology – remains a forbidding place. The optimists' exaltation of modernity is accompanied by the myth that modernity has created benefits for all. Consider, for instance, the frequently repeated claim by the optimists that we live in the most open age in human history: it presupposes that all humans have access to this open world, when only a relatively small portion do.

The majority are "more divided than ever", as Tim Marshall, who is a contributor to The National, notes in his new book. The pessimism that leaps from the pages of Divided shouldn't be mistaken for the author's attitude. It is, rather, the mood of the world as it stands. In eight chapters on China, the United States, Israel and Palestine, West Asia, India, Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom, Marshall examines the walls – physical, religious, ethnic, psychological – that fence people off or, at times, pen them in.

Everywhere there is evidence of people retreating into narrow identities. Marshall, unlike the western commentators who rushed to pronounce this the Chinese century, is not sed­uced by the glitz of Shanghai's skyscrapers. His eye is trained on the human cost of China's progress: the disparities generated by it, the exodus from village to city, the loss of individual dignity. Beijing is altering the demographics of Buddhist Tibet, which it violently subsumed in the 1950s, and Muslim Xinjiang by flooding them with Han Chinese. It is in Beijing's ethnic engineering that Marshall espies "the greatest threat to the prospects of long-term prosperity and unity in China".

Looking at India, Marshall contends that the subcontinent has not fully recovered from the invasions of the past millennium. The people on the peripheries continue to be haunted by the division of India to create Pakistan and the subsequent partition of Pakistan to birth Bangladesh. Bengalis in India resent the influx of migrants from Bangladesh because they are mostly Muslim. India has erected state-of-the-art fences on its eastern border. But as vast swathes of Bangladesh are poised to sink into the waters as sea levels rise, where will the climate refugees of the future go?

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Marshall's chapter on the European Union is the most powerful. Ever since Britain voted to leave Europe, extraordinary claims have been made for the EU. But if the EU is the ne plus ultra of political co-operation, why did so many people choose to turn away from it? "The EU," Marshall writes, "has never really succeeded in replacing the nation state in the hearts of most Europeans."

The EU hierarchs' revulsion for nationalism doesn't negate the importance many attach to national identity. As Marshall warns in his chapter on Britain, to "dismiss people who enjoyed their relatively homogeneous cultures and who are now unsure of their place in the world merely drives them into the arms of those who would exploit their anxieties – the real bigots".

By magnifying religion and culture as the causes of division, Marshall exposes himself to the charge of advancing a deterministic view of the world. Yet this is where Divided draws its strength from. As Raymond Aron said in response to French intellectuals who sought to blunt Algerian demands for independence with talk of progress under French rule, "it is a denial of the experience of our century to suppose that men will sacrifice their passions to their interests". Marshall can't be faulted for identifying the sources of those passions. He has written frankly about the world. We deny this at our own peril.

THE SPECS

Engine: six-litre W12 twin-turbo

Transmission: eight-speed dual clutch auto

Power: 626bhp

Torque: 900Nm

Price: Dh940,160 (plus VAT)

On sale: Q1 2020

War and the virus
Women’s World T20, Asia Qualifier, in Bangkok

UAE fixtures Mon Nov 20, v China; Tue Nov 21, v Thailand; Thu Nov 23, v Nepal; Fri Nov 24, v Hong Kong; Sun Nov 26, v Malaysia; Mon Nov 27, Final

(The winners will progress to the Global Qualifier)

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

FIGHT CARD

Bantamweight Hamza Bougamza (MAR) v Jalal Al Daaja (JOR)

Catchweight 67kg Mohamed El Mesbahi (MAR) v Fouad Mesdari (ALG)

Lighweight Abdullah Mohammed Ali (UAE) v Abdelhak Amhidra (MAR)

Catchweight 73kg Mostafa Ibrahim Radi (PAL) v Yazid Chouchane (ALG)

Middleweight Yousri Belgaroui (TUN) v Badreddine Diani (MAR)

Catchweight 78kg Rashed Dawood (UAE) v Adnan Bushashy (ALG)

Middleweight Sallaheddine Dekhissi (MAR) v Abdel Emam (EGY)

Catchweight 65kg Rachid Hazoume (MAR) v Yanis Ghemmouri (ALG)

Lighweight Mohammed Yahya (UAE) v Azouz Anwar (EGY)

Catchweight 79kg Omar Hussein (PAL) v Souhil Tahiri (ALG)

Middleweight Tarek Suleiman (SYR) v Laid Zerhouni (ALG)

Pieces of Her

Stars: Toni Collette, Bella Heathcote, David Wenham, Omari Hardwick  

Director: Minkie Spiro

Rating:2/5

Racecard

6.35pm: American Business Council – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Dirt) 1,600m

7.10pm: British Business Group – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,200m

7.45pm: CCI France UAE – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,400m

8.20pm: Czech Business Council – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,400m

8.55pm: Netherlands Business Council – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,600m

9.30pm: Indian Business and Professional Council – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m

The Genius of Their Age

Author: S Frederick Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 290
Available: January 24

UFC in Abu Dhabi


UFC 112: Invincible (April 10, 2010)

UFC Fight Night: Nogueira v Nelson (April 11, 2014)

UFC 242: Khabib v Poirier (September 7, 2019)


Fight Island 1

UFC 251: Usman v Masvidal (July 12, 2020)

UFC on ESPN: Kattar v Ige (July 16, 2020)

UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo v Benavidez 2 (July 19, 2020)

UFC on ESPN: Whittaker v Till (July 26, 2020)


Fight Island 2

UFC 253: Adesanya v Costa (September 27, 2020)

UFC on ESPN: Holm v Aldana (October 4, 2020)

UFC Fight Night: Moraes v Sandhagen (October 11, 2020)

UFC Fight Night: Ortega v Korean Zombie (October 18, 2020)

UFC 254: Khabib v Gaethje (October 24, 2020)



Fight Island 3

UFC on ABC:
Holloway v Kattar (January 16, 2021)

UFC on ESPN: Chiesa v Magny (January 20, 2021)

UFC 257: Poirier v McGregor 2 (January 24, 2021)



UFC 267: Blachowicz v Teixeira (October 30, 2021)

UFC 280: Oliveira v Makhachev (October 22, 2022)

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

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Reputation

Taylor Swift

(Big Machine Records)

J Street Polling Results

97% of Jewish-Americans are concerned about the rise in anti-Semitism

76% of US Jewish voters believe Donald Trump and his allies in the Republican Party are responsible for a rise in anti-Semitism

74% of American Jews agreed that “Trump and the Maga movement are a threat to Jews in America"

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre, flat six-cylinder
Transmission: seven-speed PDK
Power: 510hp
Torque: 470Nm
Price: from Dh634,200
On sale: now

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

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 680hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 800Nm at 2,750-6,000rpm
Transmission: Rear-mounted eight-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 13.6L/100km
On sale: Orderbook open; deliveries start end of year
Price: From Dh970,000

Other key dates
  • Finals draw: December 2
  • Finals (including semi-finals and third-placed game): June 5–9, 2019
  • Euro 2020 play-off draw: November 22, 2019
  • Euro 2020 play-offs: March 26–31, 2020
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 Good Liar

Starring: Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen

Directed by: Bill Condon

Three out of five stars

RACE CARD

5pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 1,400m
5.30pm: Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 1,200m
6pm: Arabian Triple Crown Round-1 (PA) Listed Dh230,000 1,600m
6.30pm: HH The President’s Cup (PA) Group 1 Dh2.5million 2,200m
7pm: HH The President’s Cup (TB) Listed Dh380,000 1,400m
7.30pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) Handicap Dh70,000 1,200m.

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

Where to submit a sample

Volunteers of all ages can submit DNA samples at centres across Abu Dhabi, including: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre+(Adnec), Biogenix Labs in Masdar City, NMC Royal Hospital in Khalifa City, NMC Royal Medical Centre, Abu Dhabi, NMC Royal Women's Hospital, Bareen International Hospital, Al Towayya in Al Ain, NMC Specialty Hospital, Al Ain

Star Wars: Ahsoka

Director: Various
Starring: Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Lars Mikkelsen
Rating: 4/5

'The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window'

Director:Michael Lehmann

Stars:Kristen Bell

Rating: 1/5

FIGHT CARD

Welterweight Mostafa Radi (PAL) v Tohir Zhuraev (TJK)

Catchweight 75kg Leandro Martins (BRA) v Anas Siraj Mounir (MAR)

Flyweight Corinne Laframboise (CAN) v Manon Fiorot (FRA)

Featherweight Ahmed Al Darmaki (UAE) v Bogdan Kirilenko (UZB)

Lightweight Izzedine Al Derabani (JOR) v Atabek Abdimitalipov (KYG)

Featherweight Yousef Al Housani (UAE) v Mohamed Arsharq Ali (SLA)

Catchweight 69kg Jung Han-gook (KOR) v Elias Boudegzdame (ALG)

Catchweight 71kg Usman Nurmagomedov (RUS) v Jerry Kvarnstrom (FIN)

Featherweight title Lee Do-gyeom (KOR) v Alexandru Chitoran (ROU)

Lightweight title Bruno Machado (BRA) v Mike Santiago (USA)

Best Academy: Ajax and Benfica

Best Agent: Jorge Mendes

Best Club : Liverpool   

 Best Coach: Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)  

 Best Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

 Best Men’s Player: Cristiano Ronaldo

 Best Partnership of the Year Award by SportBusiness: Manchester City and SAP

 Best Referee: Stephanie Frappart

Best Revelation Player: Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid and Portugal)

Best Sporting Director: Andrea Berta (Atletico Madrid)

Best Women's Player:  Lucy Bronze

Best Young Arab Player: Achraf Hakimi

 Kooora – Best Arab Club: Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia)

 Kooora – Best Arab Player: Abderrazak Hamdallah (Al-Nassr FC, Saudi Arabia)

 Player Career Award: Miralem Pjanic and Ryan Giggs

The Specs:

The Specs:

Engine: 2.9-litre, V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power: 444bhp

Torque: 600Nm

Price: AED 356,580 incl VAT

On sale: now.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Springtime in a Broken Mirror,
Mario Benedetti, Penguin Modern Classics

 

Tuesday results:

  • Singapore bt Malaysia by 29 runs
  • UAE bt Oman by 13 runs
  • Hong Kong bt Nepal by 3 wickets

Final:
Thursday, UAE v Hong Kong

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Abu Dhabi traffic facts

Drivers in Abu Dhabi spend 10 per cent longer in congested conditions than they would on a free-flowing road

The highest volume of traffic on the roads is found between 7am and 8am on a Sunday.

Travelling before 7am on a Sunday could save up to four hours per year on a 30-minute commute.

The day was the least congestion in Abu Dhabi in 2019 was Tuesday, August 13.

The highest levels of traffic were found on Sunday, November 10.

Drivers in Abu Dhabi lost 41 hours spent in traffic jams in rush hour during 2019

 

The Beach Bum

Director: Harmony Korine

Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Isla Fisher, Snoop Dogg

Two stars

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SupplyVan
Based: Dubai, UAE
Launch year: 2017
Number of employees: 29
Sector: MRO and e-commerce
Funding: Seed


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