The Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel, was intercepted by Israeli forces as it attempted to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.
The Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel, was intercepted by Israeli forces as it attempted to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip.

Turkish film takes revenge on Gaza aid-ship attack



ISTANBUL // The "Wolves" are back, and Turkish-Israeli relations could be headed for yet another crisis.

An upcoming Turkish action thriller, Valley of the Wolves-Palestine, tells the story of Polat Alemdar, a fictional secret agent, traveling to Israel to avenge the nine people who were killed by the Israelis during the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla. If a trailer posted recently on the internet by the film's production company is any indication, the film is unlikely to go down well there.

One scene shows heavily armed Israeli soldiers dropping from helicopters onto the deck of the Turkish ship "Mavi Marmara", where they start shooting activists to stop them from bringing aid to the people of the sealed-off Gaza Strip. In another scene, Israelis shoot a group of handcuffed men. For good measure, an Israeli official is shown talking about the necessity to "create a Greater Israel" and Polat Alemdar tells an Israeli soldier that he has not entered Israel but Palestine.

Israel's raid on the aid flotilla brought Turkish-Israeli relations, already tense because of the Israeli incursion into Gaza in 2008, close to breaking point. Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and cancelled military exercises with the Jewish state, a long-time partner in the Middle East. Ankara has demanded that Israel apologise for the incident, but Israel says the soldiers on the "Mavi Marmara" used force only after coming under attack from the activists on the ship.

The fictional Alemdar and Valley of the Wolves are the bases for a television and feature-film franchise that has been wildly successful in Turkey, but also very controversial. It has triggered Turkish-Israeli diplomatic rows with its anti-Israeli and anti-American messages. In 2006, an earlier feature film of Valley of the Wolves caused a stir because it showed US troops in Iraq as villains and Israeli doctors as members of an organ-selling mafia.

Last January, after the Wolves television series presented Israeli agents as baby snatchers, the Turkish ambassador to Israel was called in by foreign ministry officials and publicly humiliated. Shortly afterwards, Bahadir Ozdener, the screenwriter for Valley of the Wolves, told the Turkish press that the show would continue to shock Israel. "We will do our utmost to make them even more uncomfortable."

The scenes of Valley of the Wolves-Palestine released by Pana Film, the production company, suggest that Mr Ozdener has kept his word. According to Turkish press reports, the incident on the "Mavi Marmara" led the filmmakers to rewrite the script for the movie they were planning at the time. Parts of the film were shot on the deck of the ship that has been sent back to Turkey by Israel.

Although the release of the new film, scheduled for January 28 next year, is more than two months away, and although there has been no official government reaction from Israel to the trailer, some Turks see first ripples of indignation coming from the Israeli side.

Last week, Sahin Vahap Firat, a Turkish businessman, told Turkish media he was denied entry into Israel. Mr Firat quoted Israeli officials as telling him the reason he was sent back to Turkey was that Mr Ozdener, the screenwriter for Valley of the Wolves was listed among his friends on Facebook, the social networking site.

Mr Ozdener said he was sorry, but not surprised, to hear about the incident. "I am proud to have been part of a film like that," he said in a statement. "Valley of the Wolves-Palestine' will be a turning point," Mr Ozdener wrote. "After this film, no one will remain silent about the humanitarian tragedy in Palestine."

Critics inside and outside Turkey have accused the religiously conservative government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, of destroying the traditionally close Turkish-Israeli relationship in favour of an approach that is more in line with anti-Israeli policies in Muslim states in the Middle East, a charge Mr Erdogan denies.

Everton Fixtures

April 15 - Chelsea (A)
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May 3 - Luton Town (A)
May 11 - Sheff Utd (H)
May 19 - Arsenal (A)

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

The Boy and the Heron

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Starring: Soma Santoki, Masaki Suda, Ko Shibasaki

Rating: 5/5

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Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
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Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
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TWISTERS

Director:+Lee+Isaac+Chung

Starring:+Glen+Powell,+Daisy+Edgar-Jones,+Anthony+Ramos

Rating:+2.5/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

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1921

1888

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).

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Name: Dhabia Khalifa AlQubaisi

Age: 23

How she spends spare time: Playing with cats at the clinic and feeding them

Inspiration: My father. He’s a hard working man who has been through a lot to provide us with everything we need

Favourite book: Attitude, emotions and the psychology of cats by Dr Nicholes Dodman

Favourit film: 101 Dalmatians - it remind me of my childhood and began my love of dogs 

Word of advice: By being patient, good things will come and by staying positive you’ll have the will to continue to love what you're doing

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

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

ALRAWABI SCHOOL FOR GIRLS

Creator: Tima Shomali

Starring: Tara Abboud, Kira Yaghnam, Tara Atalla

Rating: 4/5

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule

1st Test July 26-30 in Galle

2nd Test August 3-7 in Colombo

3rd Test August 12-16 in Pallekele

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).

Slow loris biog

From: Lonely Loris is a Sunda slow loris, one of nine species of the animal native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore

Status: Critically endangered, and listed as vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list due to growing demand in the global exotic pet trade. It is one of the most popular primate species found at Indonesian pet markets

Likes: Sleeping, which they do for up to 18 hours a day. When they are awake, they like to eat fruit, insects, small birds and reptiles and some types of vegetation

Dislikes: Sunlight. Being a nocturnal animal, the slow loris wakes around sunset and is active throughout the night

Superpowers: His dangerous elbows. The slow loris’s doe eyes may make it look cute, but it is also deadly. The only known venomous primate, it hisses and clasps its paws and can produce a venom from its elbow that can cause anaphylactic shock and even death in humans

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Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
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Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
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Name: buybackbazaar.com

Started: January 2018

Founder(s): Pishu Ganglani and Ricky Husaini

Based: Dubai

Sector: FinTech, micro finance

Initial investment: $1 million

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Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
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Tax authority targets shisha levy evasion

The Federal Tax Authority will track shisha imports with electronic markers to protect customers and ensure levies have been paid.

Khalid Ali Al Bustani, director of the tax authority, on Sunday said the move is to "prevent tax evasion and support the authority’s tax collection efforts".

The scheme’s first phase, which came into effect on 1st January, 2019, covers all types of imported and domestically produced and distributed cigarettes. As of May 1, importing any type of cigarettes without the digital marks will be prohibited.

He said the latest phase will see imported and locally produced shisha tobacco tracked by the final quarter of this year.

"The FTA also maintains ongoing communication with concerned companies, to help them adapt their systems to meet our requirements and coordinate between all parties involved," he said.

As with cigarettes, shisha was hit with a 100 per cent tax in October 2017, though manufacturers and cafes absorbed some of the costs to prevent prices doubling.

Tips for newlyweds to better manage finances

All couples are unique and have to create a financial blueprint that is most suitable for their relationship, says Vijay Valecha, chief investment officer at Century Financial. He offers his top five tips for couples to better manage their finances.

Discuss your assets and debts: When married, it’s important to understand each other’s personal financial situation. It’s necessary to know upfront what each party brings to the table, as debts and assets affect spending habits and joint loan qualifications. Discussing all aspects of their finances as a couple prevents anyone from being blindsided later.

Decide on the financial/saving goals: Spouses should independently list their top goals and share their lists with one another to shape a joint plan. Writing down clear goals will help them determine how much to save each month, how much to put aside for short-term goals, and how they will reach their long-term financial goals.

Set a budget: A budget can keep the couple be mindful of their income and expenses. With a monthly budget, couples will know exactly how much they can spend in a category each month, how much they have to work with and what spending areas need to be evaluated.

Decide who manages what: When it comes to handling finances, it’s a good idea to decide who manages what. For example, one person might take on the day-to-day bills, while the other tackles long-term investments and retirement plans.

Money date nights: Talking about money should be a healthy, ongoing conversation and couples should not wait for something to go wrong. They should set time aside every month to talk about future financial decisions and see the progress they’ve made together towards accomplishing their goals.

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Director: Joyce Bernal

Starring: Sarah Geronimo, James Reid, Xian Lim, Nova Villa

3/5

(Tagalog with Eng/Ar subtitles)