Syria peace talks to be held in January



GENEVA // Syria’s government and opposition will hold their first peace talks on January 22 in Geneva, in an attempt to halt the nearly three-year-old civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people, the United Nations announced yesterday.

Previous attempts to bring the two sides together have failed mainly because of disputes over who should represent the Syrian opposition and government, and whether Iran, Saudi Arabia and other regional powers should be at the table.

“We will go to Geneva with a mission of hope,” UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s office said in a statement. “The Geneva conference is the vehicle for a peaceful transition that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of all the Syrian people for freedom and dignity, and which guarantees safety and protection to all communities in Syria.”

One of the key goals would be the “the establishment, based on mutual consent, of a transitional governing body with full executive powers, including over military and security entities,” the statement said, adding: “The Secretary-General expects that the Syrian representatives will come to Geneva with a clear understanding that this is the objective, and with a serious intention to end a war that has already left well over 100,000 dead, driven almost 9 million from their homes, left countless missing and detained, sent tremors through the region and forced unacceptable burdens on Syria’s neighbours.”

It will be the second time that major powers have convened a Syria peace conference in Geneva.

The road map for a Syrian political transition, adopted in June 2012 in the Swiss city, starts with establishing a transitional governing body with full executive powers agreed to by both sides and ends with elections.

But there has been no agreement on how to implement it, and one of the biggest sticking points has been the future role of President Bashar Al Assad.

* Associated Press

Dubai works towards better air quality by 2021

Dubai is on a mission to record good air quality for 90 per cent of the year – up from 86 per cent annually today – by 2021.

The municipality plans to have seven mobile air-monitoring stations by 2020 to capture more accurate data in hourly and daily trends of pollution.

These will be on the Palm Jumeirah, Al Qusais, Muhaisnah, Rashidiyah, Al Wasl, Al Quoz and Dubai Investment Park.

“It will allow real-time responding for emergency cases,” said Khaldoon Al Daraji, first environment safety officer at the municipality.

“We’re in a good position except for the cases that are out of our hands, such as sandstorms.

“Sandstorms are our main concern because the UAE is just a receiver.

“The hotspots are Iran, Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, but we’re working hard with the region to reduce the cycle of sandstorm generation.”

Mr Al Daraji said monitoring as it stood covered 47 per cent of Dubai.

There are 12 fixed stations in the emirate, but Dubai also receives information from monitors belonging to other entities.

“There are 25 stations in total,” Mr Al Daraji said.

“We added new technology and equipment used for the first time for the detection of heavy metals.

“A hundred parameters can be detected but we want to expand it to make sure that the data captured can allow a baseline study in some areas to ensure they are well positioned.”

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How to join and use Abu Dhabi’s public libraries

• There are six libraries in Abu Dhabi emirate run by the Department of Culture and Tourism, including one in Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

• Libraries are free to visit and visitors can consult books, use online resources and study there. Most are open from 8am to 8pm on weekdays, closed on Fridays and have variable hours on Saturdays, except for Qasr Al Watan which is open from 10am to 8pm every day.

• In order to borrow books, visitors must join the service by providing a passport photograph, Emirates ID and a refundable deposit of Dh400. Members can borrow five books for three weeks, all of which are renewable up to two times online.

• If users do not wish to pay the fee, they can still use the library’s electronic resources for free by simply registering on the website. Once registered, a username and password is provided, allowing remote access.

• For more information visit the library network's website.

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

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AIDA RETURNS

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Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

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The specs: 2018 Jaguar E-Pace First Edition

Price, base / as tested: Dh186,480 / Dh252,735

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder

Power: 246hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 365Nm @ 1,200rpm

Transmission: Nine-speed automatic

Fuel consumption, combined: 7.7L / 100km

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Directors: Amit Joshi and Aradhana Sah

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Kriti Sanon, Dharmendra, Dimple Kapadia, Rakesh Bedi

Rating: 4/5

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

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Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
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Display: 6.7-inch flexible Amoled, 2,412 x 1,080, 394ppi, 120Hz, Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Processor: MediaTek Dimensity 7,200 Pro, 4nm, octa-core

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256GB

Platform: Android 14, Nothing OS 2.5

Main camera: Dual 50MP main, f/1.88 + 50MP ultra-wide, f/2.2; OIS, EIS, auto-focus, ultra XDR, night mode

Main camera video: 4K @ 30fps, full-HD @ 60fps; slo-mo full-HD at 120fps

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.2

Battery: 5,000mAh; 50% in 30 minutes with 45-watt charger

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

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection from water/dust

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Black, milk, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2a), USB-C-to-USB-C cable, pre-applied screen protector, Sim tray ejector tool

Price (UAE): Dh1,199 (8GB/128GB) / Dh1,399 (12GB/256GB)

Copa del Rey

Semi-final, first leg

Barcelona 1 (Malcom 57')
Real Madrid (Vazquez 6')

Second leg, February 27

RESULTS

5pm: Wathba Stallions Cup – Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 (Turf) 2,200m
Winner: Al Hazeez, Saif Al Balushi (jockey), Khalifa Al Neyadi (trainer)
5.30pm: Shams Gate Tower – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
Winner: ES Sudani, Antonio Fresu, Hamad Al Marar
6pm: Al Bahr Towers – Handicap (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,200m
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6.30pm: Capital Gate – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
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7pm: Etihad Towers – Conditions (PA) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: AF Maqam, Tadhg O’Shea, Ernst Oertel
7.30pm: Fairmont Marina – Maiden (TB) Dh80,000 (T) 1,600m
Winner: Tempesta D'Oro, Xavier Ziani, Salem bin Ghadayer

Name: Brendalle Belaza

From: Crossing Rubber, Philippines

Arrived in the UAE: 2007

Favourite place in Abu Dhabi: NYUAD campus

Favourite photography style: Street photography

Favourite book: Harry Potter

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

Name: Peter Dicce

Title: Assistant dean of students and director of athletics

Favourite sport: soccer

Favourite team: Bayern Munich

Favourite player: Franz Beckenbauer

Favourite activity in Abu Dhabi: scuba diving in the Northern Emirates 

 

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Sarfira

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