Arab Spring offers the world reason for hope, says report



NEW YORK // The Arab Spring protests that shocked the regimes in the Middle East and North Africa last year were the biggest challenge to authoritarian governments since the downfall of Soviet Communism, the pro-democracy watchdog group Freedom House said in a report released yesterday.

The Washington-based group pointed to the downfall of the Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and subsequent free national elections as one of the biggest leaps forward for democracy since the group began publishing its annual review of global civil rights and liberties in 1972. The Tunisia protests inspired others throughout the region.

But the crackdown on those uprisings weighed against the advance towards democracy and even prompted China to suppress dissent in its far-flung interior regions all the more harshly.

"In China, the authorities responded to events in Cairo's Tahrir Square with a near-hysterical campaign of arrests, incommunicado detentions, press censorship, and stepped-up control over the internet," Freedom House said.

The Middle East and North Africa saw gains towards democracy in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, but Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Gulf countries suffered the most decline, Freedom House said in its report.

Freedom House found that the world as a whole moved slightly more towards authoritarianism last year.

"We've been through a multiyear period in which the world's authoritarians seemed to be on the march and the democracies appeared to be in retreat," David J Kramer, the president of Freedom House, said in the report.

"But the past year's trends give reason for hope - especially because they arose in a region of the world where many observers dismissed the idea of democratic change as futile."

Twenty-six nations became less free and tolerant last year, while only 12 showed overall improvement, making it the sixth consecutive year in which countries with declines outnumbered those with improvements.

Freedom House ranks political rights and civil liberties on a scale of 1 (most free) to 7 (least free) largely by reference to the values of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Among the values examined are free elections, multiparty democracy, rule of law and equality of opportunity.

The United States is ranked among the top "free" nations, but the new report warns of a rise in isolationist sentiment.

Republicans and some Democrats criticised the US president, Barack Obama, for giving Libyan rebels a decisive boost through air strikes that helped them bring down Muammar Qaddafi, Freedom House noted.

Mr Obama also showed initial hesitation before he backed reforms in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the report said.

While Mr Obama publicly advocated democratic reform, he "has failed to invoke the authority of the White House on specific cases.

Instead it is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who has publicly addressed violations of human rights in Russia, Hungary, and Turkey, and aligned the administration with the forces of change in Myanmar and elsewhere where prospects for freedom's growth have opened up", the Freedom House report said.

The group listed other areas of concern:

• Three promising democracies saw a troubling backslide in 2011: Hungary, South Africa and Ukraine

• Turkey didn't change in the ranking (partly free) but was a cause for alarm due to a series of political arrests and pressure on media freedom

• Deterioration was seen in energy-rich Eurasia, including Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan

• The Worst of the Worst, countries or territories with the lowest ranking on political rights and civil liberties, are Eritrea, Equatorial Guinea, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and also Tibet.

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

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela
Edited by Sahm Venter
Published by Liveright

FFP EXPLAINED

What is Financial Fair Play?
Introduced in 2011 by Uefa, European football’s governing body, it demands that clubs live within their means. Chiefly, spend within their income and not make substantial losses.

What the rules dictate? 
The second phase of its implementation limits losses to €30 million (Dh136m) over three seasons. Extra expenditure is permitted for investment in sustainable areas (youth academies, stadium development, etc). Money provided by owners is not viewed as income. Revenue from “related parties” to those owners is assessed by Uefa's “financial control body” to be sure it is a fair value, or in line with market prices.

What are the penalties? 
There are a number of punishments, including fines, a loss of prize money or having to reduce squad size for European competition – as happened to PSG in 2014. There is even the threat of a competition ban, which could in theory lead to PSG’s suspension from the Uefa Champions League.

THE DEALS

Hamilton $60m x 2 = $120m

Vettel $45m x 2 = $90m

Ricciardo $35m x 2 = $70m

Verstappen $55m x 3 = $165m

Leclerc $20m x 2 = $40m

TOTAL $485m

Anghami
Started: December 2011
Co-founders: Elie Habib, Eddy Maroun
Based: Beirut and Dubai
Sector: Entertainment
Size: 85 employees
Stage: Series C
Investors: MEVP, du, Mobily, MBC, Samena Capital

COMPANY PROFILE

Date started: 2020
Founders: Khaldoon Bushnaq and Tariq Seksek
Based: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Sector: HealthTech
Number of staff: 100
Funding to date: $15 million

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Terminator: Dark Fate

Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis 

Rating: 3/5

How does ToTok work?

The calling app is available to download on Google Play and Apple App Store

To successfully install ToTok, users are asked to enter their phone number and then create a nickname.

The app then gives users the option add their existing phone contacts, allowing them to immediately contact people also using the application by video or voice call or via message.

Users can also invite other contacts to download ToTok to allow them to make contact through the app.

 

SPEC SHEET

Display: 10.4-inch IPS LCD, 400 nits, toughened glass

CPU: Unisoc T610; Mali G52 GPU

Memory: 4GB

Storage: 64GB, up to 512GB microSD

Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C, 3.5mm audio

Battery: 8200mAh, up to 10 hours video

Platform: Android 11

Audio: Stereo speakers, 2 mics

Durability: IP52

Biometrics: Face unlock

Price: Dh849

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Profile

Company name: Jaib

Started: January 2018

Co-founders: Fouad Jeryes and Sinan Taifour

Based: Jordan

Sector: FinTech

Total transactions: over $800,000 since January, 2018

Investors in Jaib's mother company Alpha Apps: Aramex and 500 Startups

No more lice

Defining head lice

Pediculus humanus capitis are tiny wingless insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. The adult head louse is up to 3mm long, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white in colour. The female lives up to four weeks and, once mature, can lay up to 10 eggs per day. These tiny nits firmly attach to the base of the hair shaft, get incubated by body heat and hatch in eight days or so.

Identifying lice

Lice can be identified by itching or a tickling sensation of something moving within the hair. One can confirm that a person has lice by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs or lice. Head lice are most frequently located behind the ears and near the neckline.

Treating lice at home

Head lice must be treated as soon as they are spotted. Start by checking everyone in the family for them, then follow these steps. Remove and wash all clothing and bedding with hot water. Apply medicine according to the label instructions. If some live lice are still found eight to 12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine-toothed comb.
After the initial treatment, check for, comb and remove nits and lice from hair every two to three days. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes.Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

Courtesy Dr Vishal Rajmal Mehta, specialist paediatrics, RAK Hospital

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champioons League semi-final, first leg:

Liverpool 5
Salah (35', 45+1'), Mane (56'), Firmino (61', 68')

Roma 2
Dzeko (81'), Perotti (85' pen)

Second leg: May 2, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

How to wear a kandura

Dos

  • Wear the right fabric for the right season and occasion 
  • Always ask for the dress code if you don’t know
  • Wear a white kandura, white ghutra / shemagh (headwear) and black shoes for work 
  • Wear 100 per cent cotton under the kandura as most fabrics are polyester

Don’ts 

  • Wear hamdania for work, always wear a ghutra and agal 
  • Buy a kandura only based on how it feels; ask questions about the fabric and understand what you are buying
The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Supy
Started: 2021
Founders: Dani El-Zein, Yazeed bin Busayyis, Ibrahim Bou Ncoula
Based: Dubai
Industry: Food and beverage, tech, hospitality software, Saas
Funding size: Bootstrapped for six months; pre-seed round of $1.5 million; seed round of $8 million
Investors: Beco Capital, Cotu Ventures, Valia Ventures and Global Ventures

How to help

Call the hotline on 0502955999 or send "thenational" to the following numbers:

2289 - Dh10

2252 - Dh50

6025 - Dh20

6027 - Dh100

6026 - Dh200

Five hymns the crowds can join in

Papal Mass will begin at 10.30am at the Zayed Sports City Stadium on Tuesday

Some 17 hymns will be sung by a 120-strong UAE choir

Five hymns will be rehearsed with crowds on Tuesday morning before the Pope arrives at stadium

‘Christ be our Light’ as the entrance song

‘All that I am’ for the offertory or during the symbolic offering of gifts at the altar

‘Make me a Channel of your Peace’ and ‘Soul of my Saviour’ for the communion

‘Tell out my Soul’ as the final hymn after the blessings from the Pope

The choir will also sing the hymn ‘Legions of Heaven’ in Arabic as ‘Assakiroo Sama’

There are 15 Arabic speakers from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan in the choir that comprises residents from the Philippines, India, France, Italy, America, Netherlands, Armenia and Indonesia

The choir will be accompanied by a brass ensemble and an organ

They will practice for the first time at the stadium on the eve of the public mass on Monday evening 

Sweet Tooth

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

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
Company profile

Company name: Letswork
Started: 2018
Based: Dubai
Founders: Omar Almheiri, Hamza Khan
Sector: co-working spaces
Investment stage: $2.1 million in a seed round with investors including 500 Global, The Space, DTEC Ventures and other angel investors
Number of employees: about 20

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Lamsa

Founder: Badr Ward

Launched: 2014

Employees: 60

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: EdTech

Funding to date: $15 million

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Znap

Started: 2017

Founder: Uday Rathod

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: FinTech

Funding size: $1m+

Investors: Family, friends

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)

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

Five famous companies founded by teens

There are numerous success stories of teen businesses that were created in college dorm rooms and other modest circumstances. Below are some of the most recognisable names in the industry:

  1. Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg and his friends started Facebook when he was a 19-year-old Harvard undergraduate. 
  2. Dell: When Michael Dell was an undergraduate student at Texas University in 1984, he started upgrading computers for profit. He starting working full-time on his business when he was 19. Eventually, his company became the Dell Computer Corporation and then Dell Inc. 
  3. Subway: Fred DeLuca opened the first Subway restaurant when he was 17. In 1965, Mr DeLuca needed extra money for college, so he decided to open his own business. Peter Buck, a family friend, lent him $1,000 and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines. A few years later, the company was rebranded and called Subway. 
  4. Mashable: In 2005, Pete Cashmore created Mashable in Scotland when he was a teenager. The site was then a technology blog. Over the next few decades, Mr Cashmore has turned Mashable into a global media company.
  5. Oculus VR: Palmer Luckey founded Oculus VR in June 2012, when he was 19. In August that year, Oculus launched its Kickstarter campaign and raised more than $1 million in three days. Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion two years later.
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Essentials

The flights

Emirates and Etihad fly direct from the UAE to Geneva from Dh2,845 return, including taxes. The flight takes 6 hours. 

The package

Clinique La Prairie offers a variety of programmes. A six-night Master Detox costs from 14,900 Swiss francs (Dh57,655), including all food, accommodation and a set schedule of medical consultations and spa treatments.

The specs

Engine: 2-litre 4-cylinder and 3.6-litre 6-cylinder

Power: 220 and 280 horsepower

Torque: 350 and 360Nm

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Price: from Dh136,521 + VAT and Dh166,464 + VAT 

On sale: now

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

Indoor Cricket World Cup Dubai 2017

Venue Insportz, Dubai; Admission Free

Day 1 fixtures (Saturday)

Men 1.45pm, Malaysia v Australia (Court 1); Singapore v India (Court 2); UAE v New Zealand (Court 3); South Africa v Sri Lanka (Court 4)

Women Noon, New Zealand v South Africa (Court 3); England v UAE (Court 4); 5.15pm, Australia v UAE (Court 3); England v New Zealand (Court 4)