France strengthens its bond with UAE



Observers could be forgiven for perceiving France's growing presence in the UAE as both recent and sudden, said Alain Azouaou, the French ambassador. France, which is involved in a range of endeavours here - including art projects, universities and civilian nuclear power - seems to have stamped its tricolour on much of the UAE's development over the past five years. With a military base in Abu Dhabi also nearing completion, it could appear to have happened very quickly.

"Suddenly you say, 'Ah, France is here!' France was here," Mr Azouaou said. "We have had excellent military co-operation and it is in the framework of our military co-operation, which is growing closer and closer, that the base should be understood." In fact, he said, the obvious confidence in France's relationship with the UAE follows three decades of increasingly intimate diplomacy. But for Mr Azouaou, the projects, which include a satellite campus for the Paris-Sorbonne University, civilian nuclear-power assistance and an outpost in Abu Dhabi for the Louvre Museum, the closeness of the two nations represents more than just strong bilateral ties. They reveal a vision for the future of dialogue between civilisations.

"How can a dialogue on culture be something that is only for a symposium, or a conference?" Mr Azouaou said. "Here, dialogue between cultures can be something concrete through real projects." The UAE and France share a perspective on many cultural and political issues, as well as economic goals, the ambassador said. While the UAE is seeking to define and preserve its identity, France has begun an ambitious effort to promote its language and artistic heritage abroad.

France and the UAE both want to preserve cultural diversity, he said, and it is not an issue of opposing globalisation. "I am sure that we share the same views on what is important for globalisation, for the global world: recognition of the importance of heritage. How we can preserve heritage? How we can learn from heritage? And this is not only our own heritage, but how we can share our respective heritage and our common heritage?"

The distinctly French take on the imperative of cultural preservation, however, has made the Louvre Abu Dhabi project controversial at home, where some purists have accused the government of auctioning France's artistic history to the highest bidder. Mr Azouaou attributes that reaction to the experimental nature of the project, which would be the first of its kind to regularly rotate parts of the collection housed at the famous Parisian facility through a foreign museum.

"In France, the population traditionally defends, more than many others, the concept of a universality of culture," he said. "Today, the experts who work on this project are very enthusiastic. They feel as though they are writing a promised future. They feel like they are participating in a unique and exciting project." Much of the relationship's closeness, said the ambassador, was due to the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his stated doctrine of increased engagement in the Middle East. Since becoming president in May last year, Mr Sarkozy has championed a Union for the Mediterranean, a proposed international community that he has said would deepen ties between Europe and the Arab world. He has also signed civil nuclear-assistance deals with Libya, Algeria and the UAE, and is negotiating such deals with Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt - a strategy that has been called "nuclear diplomacy".

Much of France's new emphasis on the Gulf stems from the French government's recognition that Europe and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula should "triangulate" their diplomatic and development efforts to help resolve security concerns in the rest of the Middle East, said Gilles Kepel, a professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris. "The [American] neocons sold us this sort of tale that the world was unipolar, it was only the US and the rest," said Prof Kepel. "After the fiasco in Iraq, it's become crystal clear even in the Beltway, that this is not the case. I think that there are many in France who believe that we need to join forces with the Middle East and the Gulf and make a new space that would stretch from Europe to the Gulf, something that would allow us to bring together the assets and the liabilities of both."

France's close connection with the Emirates dates to the genesis of the country in the early 1970s. When the British vacated their protectorates in the Gulf, the newly formed UAE looked for a security patron that could ensure regional stability, said Mustafa Alani, the research director for the Gulf Research Centre. "The option that the UAE had at that time was between Americans, British or France," he said. "They had good relations with all three, but for unknown reasons, they decided to move closer to France, especially in terms of the military and the supply of military equipment.

What began as strictly military ties have blossomed into a comprehensive relationship, he said. But as American prestige and military capability has waned in the years since, France has emerged as an even more reliable partner. "You have to remember that the relationship with France is less embarrassing than a relationship with the United States," said Dr Alani. "There's strong anti-American sentiment in the whole region because of support for Israel and other things. Ties with France have the added benefit of not threatening the US and its continued status as the Gulf's security guarantor.

"Because Sarkozy moved very close to the United States from day one of his policy, the UAE doesn't feel embarrassed giving the French a base here, buying French arms, considering a cultural relationship or talking about nuclear power. Sarkozy is not in competition with the United States." More recently, Mr Sarkozy has used the French presidency of the Council of the European Union to accelerate negotiations for a free-trade agreement between the EU and the GCC. Mr Azouaou expects the negotiations, which have dragged on for nearly two decades, to be completed by the end of this year - a goal that Dr Alani called "over-ambitious" because of the many unresolved complications involved with instituting free trade between more than 30 countries.

Like many other initiatives that demand co-operation between France and the UAE, Mr Azouaou said the importance of the proposed free trade agreement goes beyond economic concerns. "For us, this accord isn't simply a commercial agreement. Beyond that, it's an accord that will permit expanded dialogues between the regions," he said. "Of course, President Sarkozy has said at the beginning of his presidency that one of his main points is to try to finalise this agreement.

"We have pushed for more meetings, constructive meetings, between the European Commission and the GCC Secretariat." mbradley@thenational.ae

Results:

5pm: Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic (PA) Prestige Dh 110,000 1.400m | Winner: AF Mouthirah, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

5.30pm: Abu Dhabi Colts Classic (PA) Prestige Dh 110,000 1,400m | Winner: AF Saab, Antonio Fresu, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh 80,000 1,600m | Winner: Majd Al Gharbia, Saif Al Balushi, Ridha ben Attia

6.30pm: Abu Dhabi Championship (PA) Listed Dh 180,000 1,600m | Winner: RB Money To Burn, Pat Cosgrave, Eric Lemartinel

7pm: Wathba Stallions Cup (PA) Handicap Dh 70,000 2,200m | Winner: AF Kafu, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel

7.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh 100,000 2,400m | Winner: Brass Ring, Fabrice Veron, Ismail Mohammed

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

Company profile

Company name: Suraasa

Started: 2018

Founders: Rishabh Khanna, Ankit Khanna and Sahil Makker

Based: India, UAE and the UK

Industry: EdTech

Initial investment: More than $200,000 in seed funding

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which can lead to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.

Hepatitis C is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This can occur through blood transfusions, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injecting drugs. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common.

People infected with hepatitis C experience few or no symptoms, meaning they can live with the virus for years without being diagnosed. This delay in treatment can increase the risk of significant liver damage.

There are an estimated 170 million carriers of Hepatitis C around the world.

The virus causes approximately 399,000 fatalities each year worldwide, according to WHO.

 

TECH SPECS: APPLE IPHONE 14 PLUS

Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2778 x 1284, 458ppi, HDR, True Tone, P3, 1200 nits

Processor: A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine 

Memory: 6GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: iOS 16

Main camera: Dual 12MP main (f/1.5) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4); 2x optical, 5x digital; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps; HD slo-mo @ 120/240fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4; Animoji, Memoji; Portrait Lighting

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/3060fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD slo-mo @ 120fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

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Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: Lightning

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + SIM (US models use eSIMs only)

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In the box: iPhone 14, USB-C-to-Lightning cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh3,799 / Dh4,199 / Dh5,049

Napoleon

Director: Ridley Scott
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim
Rating: 2/5

The specs: 2017 Porsche 718 Cayman

Price, base / as tested Dh222,500 / Dh296,870

Engine 2.0L, flat four-cylinder

Transmission Seven-speed PDK

Power 300hp @ 6,500rpm

Torque 380hp @ 1,950rpm

Fuel economy, combined 6.9L / 100km

MEDIEVIL (1998)

Developer: SCE Studio Cambridge
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation, PlayStation 4 and 5
Rating: 3.5/5

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
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FULL FIGHT CARD

Featherweight Bout: Abdullah Al Qahtani v Taha Bendaoud
Bantamweight Bout: Ali Taleb v Nawras Abzakh
Bantamweight Bout: Xavier Alaoui v Rachid El Hazoume
Featherweight Bout: Islam Reda v Adam Meskini
Bantamweight Bout: Tariq Ismail v Jalal Al Daaja
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Amateur Female Atomweight Bout: Hattan Al Saif v Nada Faheem
Featherweight Bout: Maraoune Bellagouit v Motaz Askar
Featherweight Bout: Ahmed Tarek v Abdelrahman Alhyasat
Showcase Featherweight Bout: Mido Mohamed v Yazeed Hasanain
Showcase Flyweight Bout: Malik Basahel v Harsh Pandya

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

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

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Other simple ideas for sushi rice dishes

Cheat’s nigiri 
This is easier to make than sushi rolls. With damp hands, form the cooled rice into small tablet shapes. Place slices of fresh, raw salmon, mackerel or trout (or smoked salmon) lightly touched with wasabi, then press, wasabi side-down, onto the rice. Serve with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Easy omurice
This fusion dish combines Asian fried rice with a western omelette. To make, fry cooked and cooled sushi rice with chopped vegetables such as carrot and onion and lashings of sweet-tangy ketchup, then wrap in a soft egg omelette.

Deconstructed sushi salad platter 
This makes a great, fuss-free sharing meal. Arrange sushi rice on a platter or board, then fill the space with all your favourite sushi ingredients (edamame beans, cooked prawns or tuna, tempura veggies, pickled ginger and chilli tofu), with a dressing or dipping sauce on the side.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
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SUZUME

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Stars: Nanoka Hara, Hokuto Matsumura, Eri Fukatsu

Rating: 4/5

PRISCILLA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

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A QUIET PLACE

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

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: OneOrder
Started: March 2022
Founders: Tamer Amer and Karim Maurice
Based: Cairo
Number of staff: 82
Investment stage: Series A

Thanksgiving meals to try

World Cut Steakhouse, Habtoor Palace Hotel, Dubai. On Thursday evening, head chef Diego Solis will be serving a high-end sounding four-course meal that features chestnut veloute with smoked duck breast, turkey roulade accompanied by winter vegetables and foie gras and pecan pie, cranberry compote and popcorn ice cream.

Jones the Grocer, various locations across the UAE. Jones’s take-home holiday menu delivers on the favourites: whole roast turkeys, an array of accompaniments (duck fat roast potatoes, sausages wrapped in beef bacon, honey-glazed parsnips and carrots) and more, as  well as festive food platters, canapes and both apple and pumpkin pies.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Address Hotel, Dubai. This New Orleans-style restaurant is keen to take the stress out of entertaining, so until December 25 you can order a full seasonal meal from its Takeaway Turkey Feast menu, which features turkey, homemade gravy and a selection of sides – think green beans with almond flakes, roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole and bread stuffing – to pick up and eat at home.

The Mattar Farm Kitchen, Dubai. From now until Christmas, Hattem Mattar and his team will be producing game- changing smoked turkeys that you can enjoy at home over the festive period.

Nolu’s, The Galleria Mall, Maryah Island Abu Dhabi. With much of the menu focused on a California inspired “farm to table” approach (with Afghani influence), it only seems right that Nolu’s will be serving their take on the Thanksgiving spread, with a brunch at the Downtown location from 12pm to 4pm on Friday.

Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 

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.

Company Profile

Name: Raha
Started: 2022
Based: Kuwait/Saudi
Industry: Tech Logistics
Funding: $14 million
Investors: Soor Capital, eWTP Arabia Capital, Aujan Enterprises, Nox Management, Cedar Mundi Ventures
Number of employees: 166

Winners

Best Men's Player of the Year: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Maradona Award for Best Goal Scorer of the Year: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

TikTok Fans’ Player of the Year: Robert Lewandowski

Top Goal Scorer of All Time: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

Best Women's Player of the Year: Alexia Putellas (Barcelona)

Best Men's Club of the Year: Chelsea

Best Women's Club of the Year: Barcelona

Best Defender of the Year: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus/Italy)

Best Goalkeeper of the Year: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG/Italy)

Best Coach of the Year: Roberto Mancini (Italy)

Best National Team of the Year: Italy

Best Agent of the Year: Federico Pastorello

Best Sporting Director of the Year: Txiki Begiristain (Manchester City)

Player Career Award: Ronaldinho

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

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

Rating: 3.5/5

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Copa del Rey final

Sevilla v Barcelona, Saturday, 11.30pm (UAE), match on Bein Sports


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