Kristiane Backer, author of 'From MTV to Mecca' and convert to Islam, poses for a portrait at the Higher Council of Family Affairs, Sharjah, UAE on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010.
A reader praises a recent profile of Kristiane Backer, a former MTV Europe presenter, author of From MTV to Mecca, and a convert to Islam.

Hatty Pedder's painting captures diversity of Dubai



The article Swimming in diversity (October 21) was illustrated by the Jumeirah Beach painting by the artist Hatty Pedder, currently on view at her Social Seen exhibition at the Mojo Gallery in Dubai. I've been to this exhibition and it is great. Anyone who has lived in the UAE for more than a day will recognise and warmly relate to these images. You'll find someone you think you've probably met in almost every picture, whether you like them or not.

The exhibition is well worth a visit, and maybe an investment. There's no better documentary of the growing pains of the UAE.

Gary Busby, Abu Dhabi

Reflections on marriage

Rym Ghazal's opinion article Why is marriage and love these days just a roll of the dice? (October 21) is a great piece, very well written and sadly true about the lifestyle of Arabian culture.

The verses of the poem she used for the homeless prince are my favourite. Actually it is only those four lines that I memorised from the whole lot of Majnoun's poems to Layla.

As to why men are romantic before marriage and then give up, it's because generally Arab culture is all about the hunting game.

Men take their sweet time and all the patience needed to get the prey. Once you get it and play with it, the game is over and there is new prey to hunt. The man takes no more interest in an old toy that the he has already exerted all his efforts in getting.

New toys seem brighter and the problem is that the toy offers all it has from day one and doesn't hold back, so there are no more surprises, which leads to routine and boredom.

The old toy doesn't generally dare to wander off or threaten to leave because it fears what society might say, so the hunter will always know that he has her in his hands all the time. Whereas in other cultures it's about how to keep the toy after getting it because the toy has the liberty to leave at any point. The prey knows its worth. The hunter's vanity and pride forces him to make the cage prettier each time to lure the prey to stay.

Leila Hatoum, Dubai

**********

This is a great piece. The problem is that husbands can't see their wives being adventurous or enjoying their sexuality because it is threatening to them, and the women are too embarrassed to ask for what they want. It's a mess.

That's what happens when you segregate boys and girls: they grow up knowing nothing about each other.

DB, Lebanon

Inspiring profile of a Muslim convert

Haneen al Dajani's story about Kristiane Backer, My journey from MTV star to Muslim convert (October 20), was an excellent one and a breed apart.

It's very rare to get hold of such a personality who just happened to be passing by Sharjah and take such bold steps to profile her. It was a very inspiring piece. Keep it up.

Chand C, Abu Dhabi

Hope for shale drilling in Europe

In reference to the business article Challenges await in a volatile world (October 17), there is great hope for shale in Europe as being able to provide greater energy security and lessen the dependence on Russian sources of gas. Certainly there are challenges in respect to environmental concerns and whether shale gas, if found, will be commercially viable.

This will take time to evolve, though present drilling by Lane Energy/Conoco Phillips, and soon by the partnership in which the US company BNK Petroleum is participating, will go a long way in determining the future of shale gas in Europe.

Charles Ladd, Abu Dhabi

Counting cats correctly

In the article Cat lovers welcome countdown on strays (October 18), the chairwoman of Feline-Friends, a Dubai-based non-profit organisation for the welfare of cats, is quoted as saying: "A single female cat can be responsible for producing 20,000 to 25,000 offspring within five years." However, according to Wikipedia: "Females can have two to three litters per year, so may produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding span of around ten years."

That's 150 kittens in 10 years, not 20,000 in five years.

Markco Mancic, Dubai

Commonsense discipline

I refer to the news article 'No tolerance for family violence' (October 21). According to statistics, one in four women in the West has been reported to suffer from some sort of abuse. As for disciplining children, this is a part of a commonsense approach. We have in the UK a youth culture mob running amok with no respect for elders.

Dawud Burns, UK

Ruwais timeline

1971 Abu Dhabi National Oil Company established

1980 Ruwais Housing Complex built, located 10 kilometres away from industrial plants

1982 120,000 bpd capacity Ruwais refinery complex officially inaugurated by the founder of the UAE Sheikh Zayed

1984 Second phase of Ruwais Housing Complex built. Today the 7,000-unit complex houses some 24,000 people.  

1985 The refinery is expanded with the commissioning of a 27,000 b/d hydro cracker complex

2009 Plans announced to build $1.2 billion fertilizer plant in Ruwais, producing urea

2010 Adnoc awards $10bn contracts for expansion of Ruwais refinery, to double capacity from 415,000 bpd

2014 Ruwais 261-outlet shopping mall opens

2014 Production starts at newly expanded Ruwais refinery, providing jet fuel and diesel and allowing the UAE to be self-sufficient for petrol supplies

2014 Etihad Rail begins transportation of sulphur from Shah and Habshan to Ruwais for export

2017 Aldar Academies to operate Adnoc’s schools including in Ruwais from September. Eight schools operate in total within the housing complex.

2018 Adnoc announces plans to invest $3.1 billion on upgrading its Ruwais refinery 

2018 NMC Healthcare selected to manage operations of Ruwais Hospital

2018 Adnoc announces new downstream strategy at event in Abu Dhabi on May 13

Source: The National

Haemoglobin disorders explained

Thalassaemia is part of a family of genetic conditions affecting the blood known as haemoglobin disorders.

Haemoglobin is a substance in the red blood cells that carries oxygen and a lack of it triggers anemia, leaving patients very weak, short of breath and pale.

The most severe type of the condition is typically inherited when both parents are carriers. Those patients often require regular blood transfusions - about 450 of the UAE's 2,000 thalassaemia patients - though frequent transfusions can lead to too much iron in the body and heart and liver problems.

The condition mainly affects people of Mediterranean, South Asian, South-East Asian and Middle Eastern origin. Saudi Arabia recorded 45,892 cases of carriers between 2004 and 2014.

A World Health Organisation study estimated that globally there are at least 950,000 'new carrier couples' every year and annually there are 1.33 million at-risk pregnancies.

The biog

Name: Sari Al Zubaidi

Occupation: co-founder of Cafe di Rosati

Age: 42

Marital status: single

Favourite drink: drip coffee V60

Favourite destination: Bali, Indonesia 

Favourite book: 100 Years of Solitude 

The specs: 2017 Maserati Quattroporte

Price, base / as tested Dh389,000 / Dh559,000

Engine 3.0L twin-turbo V8

Transmission Eight-speed automatic

Power 530hp @ 6,800rpm

Torque 650Nm @ 2,000 rpm

Fuel economy, combined 10.7L / 100km

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

if you go

The flights

Etihad and Emirates fly direct from the UAE to Seoul from Dh3,775 return, including taxes

The package

Ski Safari offers a seven-night ski package to Korea, including five nights at the Dragon Valley Hotel in Yongpyong and two nights at Seoul CenterMark hotel, from £720 (Dh3,488) per person, including transfers, based on two travelling in January

The info

Visit www.gokorea.co.uk

Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier

UAE results
Ireland beat UAE by six wickets
Zimbabwe beat UAE by eight wickets
UAE beat Netherlands by 10 wickets

Fixtures
UAE v Vanuatu, Thursday, 3pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium
Ireland v Netherlands, 7.30pm, Zayed Cricket Stadium

Group B table
1) Ireland 3 3 0 6 +2.407
2. Netherlands 3 2 1 4 +1.117
3) UAE 3 1 2 2 0.000
4) Zimbabwe 4 1 3 2 -0.844
5) Vanuatu 3 1 2 2 -2.180

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

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

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

If you go

The flights
Emirates and Etihad fly direct to Nairobi, with fares starting from Dh1,695. The resort can be reached from Nairobi via a 35-minute flight from Wilson Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, or by road, which takes at least three hours.

The rooms
Rooms at Fairmont Mount Kenya range from Dh1,870 per night for a deluxe room to Dh11,000 per night for the William Holden Cottage.

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).

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: SimpliFi

Started: August 2021

Founder: Ali Sattar

Based: UAE

Industry: Finance, technology

Investors: 4DX, Rally Cap, Raed, Global Founders, Sukna and individuals

Pox that threatens the Middle East's native species

Camelpox

Caused by a virus related to the one that causes human smallpox, camelpox typically causes fever, swelling of lymph nodes and skin lesions in camels aged over three, but the animal usually recovers after a month or so. Younger animals may develop a more acute form that causes internal lesions and diarrhoea, and is often fatal, especially when secondary infections result. It is found across the Middle East as well as in parts of Asia, Africa, Russia and India.

Falconpox

Falconpox can cause a variety of types of lesions, which can affect, for example, the eyelids, feet and the areas above and below the beak. It is a problem among captive falcons and is one of many types of avian pox or avipox diseases that together affect dozens of bird species across the world. Among the other forms are pigeonpox, turkeypox, starlingpox and canarypox. Avipox viruses are spread by mosquitoes and direct bird-to-bird contact.

Houbarapox

Houbarapox is, like falconpox, one of the many forms of avipox diseases. It exists in various forms, with a type that causes skin lesions being least likely to result in death. Other forms cause more severe lesions, including internal lesions, and are more likely to kill the bird, often because secondary infections develop. This summer the CVRL reported an outbreak of pox in houbaras after rains in spring led to an increase in mosquito numbers.

'Cheb Khaled'

Artist: Khaled
Label: Believe
Rating: 4/5

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: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: ten-speed

Power: 420bhp

Torque: 624Nm

Price: Dh325,125

On sale: Now

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)

MWTC

Tickets start from Dh100 for adults and are now on sale at www.ticketmaster.ae and Virgin Megastores across the UAE. Three-day and travel packages are also available at 20 per cent discount.

THE SWIMMERS

Director: Sally El-Hosaini

Stars: Nathalie Issa, Manal Issa, Ahmed Malek and Ali Suliman 

Rating: 4/5

Best Foreign Language Film nominees

Capernaum (Lebanon)

Cold War (Poland)

Never Look Away (Germany)

Roma (Mexico)

Shoplifters (Japan)