Eleven-year-old Mona Hajir was chosen for Nancy Ajram’s team during the blind auditions phase of The Voice Kids. Courtesy MBC
Eleven-year-old Mona Hajir was chosen for Nancy Ajram’s team during the blind auditions phase of The Voice Kids. Courtesy MBC

Dubai girls make it to next stage of The Voice Kids



Two youngsters from Dubai stood out during the blind auditions phase on the first season of The Voice Kids on MBC.

Dozens of kids between the ages of 7 and 15 took to the stage during the auditions, which wrapped up on Saturday night.

The judges – Iraqi superstar Kazem “The Caesar” Saher, Lebanese pop star Nancy Ajram and Egyptian actor and singer Tamer Hosny – chose 15 participants each, who they will mentor and prepare for the next round, titled The Battles.

Mona Hajir, who lives in Dubai with her Palestinian father and Russian mother, could not contain her joy at being chosen to be part of Ajram’s team.

"I'm so happy, I love you! I promise to do better," she said. The 11-year-old began her audition singing the Selena Gomez hit Naturally, then switched seamlessly into Arabic, and sang Ajram's song El Donia Helwa (The World is Beautiful).

Laila Abu Hamdan, also from Dubai, sang the Leona Lewis chart-topper Bleeding Love, and ended up on Al Saher's team. The 13-year-old, originally from Lebanon, came to the audition with her parents, who have been investing in singing lessons for their teenager and her younger brother, who assured his big sister "you can do this".

“I’m nervous, there’s no room for error,” said Laila, ahead of her audition. After her performance, Al Saher said to her: “I felt that there was something beautiful on stage, your voice gives me joy. I feel happiness while listening to you sing.”

The contestants included refugees from Palestine and Syria.

Ghina Bou Hemdan, 9, from Syria, moved all three judges to tears with her rendition of Atoona El Toufouli, meaning "Give Us Childhood", by Lebanese child singer Remi Bandali. Ghina broke down when Ajram said she wanted her on her team, so the judge quickly walked to the stage to help Ghina get through the rest of her performance and sing through the tears. When the judges asked why she cried, Ghina said: "I'm so happy now."

• The Voice Kids is on MBC and MBC Masr on Saturdays at 10pm. The live finale will be held in Beirut on March 5. Stream previous episodes on www.shahid.net

artslife@thenational.ae

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

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Maestro

Director: Bradley Cooper

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Carey Mulligan, Maya Hawke

Rating: 3/5

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

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP5

Display: Main – 6.7" FHD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2640 x 1080, 22:9, 425ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz; cover – 3/4" Super Amoled, 720 x 748, 306ppi

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 740 GPU

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, One UI 5.1.1

Main camera: Dual 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP wide (f/1.8), OIS

Video: 4K@30/60fps, full-HD@60/240fps, HD@960fps

Front camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Battery: 3700mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Samsung Pay)

I/O: USB-C

Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; no microSD slot

Colours: Cream, graphite, lavender, mint; Samsung.com exclusives – blue, grey, green, yellow

In the box: Flip 4, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh3,899 / Dh4,349

Eyasses squad

Charlie Preston (captain) – goal shooter/ goalkeeper (Dubai College)

Arushi Holt (vice-captain) – wing defence / centre (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Olivia Petricola (vice-captain) – centre / wing attack (Dubai English Speaking College)

Isabel Affley – goalkeeper / goal defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Jemma Eley – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Alana Farrell-Morton – centre / wing / defence / wing attack (Nord Anglia International School)

Molly Fuller – goal attack / wing attack (Dubai College)

Caitlin Gowdy – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai English Speaking College)

Noorulain Hussain – goal defence / wing defence (Dubai College)

Zahra Hussain-Gillani – goal defence / goalkeeper (British School Al Khubairat)

Claire Janssen – goal shooter / goal attack (Jumeriah English Speaking School)

Eliza Petricola – wing attack / centre (Dubai English Speaking College)

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Part three: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

RESULT

Leeds United 1 Manchester City 1
Leeds:
 Rodrigo (59')
Man City: Sterling (17')

Man of the Match: Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds)

Scoreline:

Manchester City 1

Jesus 4'

Brighton 0

Meydan race card

6.30pm: Baniyas (PA) Group 2 Dh125,000 (Dirt) 1,400m
7.05pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,200m​​​​​​​
7.40pm: Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m​​​​​​​
8.15pm: Handicap (TB) Dh170,000 (D) 1,900m​​​​​​​
8.50pm: Rated Conditions (TB) Dh240,000 (D) 1,600m​​​​​​​
9.25pm: Handicap (TB) Dh175,000 (D)1,200m
10pm: Handicap (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

2018 ICC World Twenty20 Asian Western Regional Qualifier

The top three teams progress to the Asia Qualifier

Final: UAE beat Qatar by nine wickets

Third-place play-off: Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia by five runs

Table

1 UAE 5 5 0 10

2 Qatar 5 4 1 8

3 Saudi 5 3 2 6

4 Kuwait 5 2 3 4

5 Bahrain 5 1 4 2

6 Maldives 5 0 5 0

Start-up hopes to end Japan's love affair with cash

Across most of Asia, people pay for taxi rides, restaurant meals and merchandise with smartphone-readable barcodes — except in Japan, where cash still rules. Now, as the country’s biggest web companies race to dominate the payments market, one Tokyo-based startup says it has a fighting chance to win with its QR app.

Origami had a head start when it introduced a QR-code payment service in late 2015 and has since signed up fast-food chain KFC, Tokyo’s largest cab company Nihon Kotsu and convenience store operator Lawson. The company raised $66 million in September to expand nationwide and plans to more than double its staff of about 100 employees, says founder Yoshiki Yasui.

Origami is betting that stores, which until now relied on direct mail and email newsletters, will pay for the ability to reach customers on their smartphones. For example, a hair salon using Origami’s payment app would be able to send a message to past customers with a coupon for their next haircut.

Quick Response codes, the dotted squares that can be read by smartphone cameras, were invented in the 1990s by a unit of Toyota Motor to track automotive parts. But when the Japanese pioneered digital payments almost two decades ago with contactless cards for train fares, they chose the so-called near-field communications technology. The high cost of rolling out NFC payments, convenient ATMs and a culture where lost wallets are often returned have all been cited as reasons why cash remains king in the archipelago. In China, however, QR codes dominate.

Cashless payments, which includes credit cards, accounted for just 20 per cent of total consumer spending in Japan during 2016, compared with 60 per cent in China and 89 per cent in South Korea, according to a report by the Bank of Japan.

MEYDAN RESULTS

6.30pm Baniyas (PA) Group 2 Dh125,000 (Dirt) 1,400m

Winner ES Ajeeb, Sam Hitchcock (jockey), Ibrahim Aseel (trainer).          

7.05pm Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,200m

Winner  Galaxy Road, Antonio Fresu, Musabah Al Muhairi.

7.40pm Maiden (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner  Al Modayar, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

8.15pm Handicap (TB) Dh170,000 (D) 1,900m

Winner  Gundogdu, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer.

8.50pm Rated Conditions (TB) Dh240,000 (D) 1,600m

Winner George Villiers, Tadhg O’Shea, Satish Seemar.

9.25pm Handicap (TB) Dh175,000 (D)1,200m

Winner  Lady Parma, Connor Beasley, Satish Seemar

10pm Handicap (TB) Dh165,000 (D) 1,400m

Winner Zaajer, Fernando Jara, Ali Rashid Al Raihe

Results

ATP Dubai Championships on Monday (x indicates seed):

First round
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x4) 6-4, 6-1
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x7) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

PULITZER PRIZE 2020 WINNERS

JOURNALISM 

Public Service
Anchorage Daily News in collaboration with ProPublica

Breaking News Reporting
Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.

Investigative Reporting
Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times

Explanatory Reporting
Staff of The Washington Post

Local Reporting  
Staff of The Baltimore Sun

National Reporting
T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica

and    

Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times

International Reporting
Staff of The New York Times

Feature Writing
Ben Taub of The New Yorker

Commentary
Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times

Criticism
Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times

Editorial Writing
Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine (Tx.) Herald-Press

Editorial Cartooning
Barry Blitt, contributor, The New Yorker

Breaking News Photography
Photography Staff of Reuters

Feature Photography
Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of the Associated Press

Audio Reporting
Staff of This American Life with Molly O’Toole of the Los Angeles Times and Emily Green, freelancer, Vice News for “The Out Crowd”

LETTERS AND DRAMA

Fiction
"The Nickel Boys" by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)

Drama
"A Strange Loop" by Michael R. Jackson

History
"Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America" by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)

Biography
"Sontag: Her Life and Work" by Benjamin Moser (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Poetry
"The Tradition" by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

General Nonfiction
"The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care" by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

and

"The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America" by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books)

Music
"The Central Park Five" by Anthony Davis, premiered by Long Beach Opera on June 15, 2019

Special Citation
Ida B. Wells

 

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

Kamindu Mendis bio

Full name: Pasqual Handi Kamindu Dilanka Mendis

Born: September 30, 1998

Age: 20 years and 26 days

Nationality: Sri Lankan

Major teams Sri Lanka's Under 19 team

Batting style: Left-hander

Bowling style: Right-arm off-spin and slow left-arm orthodox (that's right!)

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
MATCH INFO

Euro 2020 qualifier

Croatia v Hungary, Thursday, 10.45pm, UAE

TV: Match on BeIN Sports

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

Abu Dhabi GP schedule

Friday: First practice - 1pm; Second practice - 5pm

Saturday: Final practice - 2pm; Qualifying - 5pm

Sunday: Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (55 laps) - 5.10pm

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

WE NO LONGER PREFER MOUNTAINS

Director: Inas Halabi

Starring: Nijmeh Hamdan, Kamal Kayouf, Sheikh Najib Alou

Rating: 4/5

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.