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Australia seal OdI series

Glenn Maxwell of australia plays a shot as pakistan wicketkeeper sarfraz ahmed looks on during the second OdI at dubai International Cricket stadium on Friday. — Kt photo by Shihab


Women’s event gains momentum

As women’s event of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships nears completion the interest in the game has increased. Though Srena Williams and Victoria Azarenka’s withdrawals have hit the tournament hard, there are still some big names and defending champion Agnieszka Radwanska is one of them. She is favourite to land the Dubai crown once again. KT lensman
Shihab has captured some unique moments on Thursday.



Spectators watch people running the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon on Friday. Ethiopians dominated the race with Lelisa Desisa winning the men’s title while tirfi tsgaye won the women’s trophy.Desisa, sprinting clear in the last 200 metres to time 2 hours 04 minutes and 45 seconds, also clocked the 13th fastest time in history. tsgaye won the race in 2 hours 23 minutes and 23 seconds.— KT photo by Shihab


Treasure trove of spices

From spices of yonder shores, frankincense and shisha to herbs, textiles, rugs and artefacts,the spice souq in Deira
Dubai is a not-to-be-missed market. Located near the Dubai Gold Souq, the fragrance of the spices pervades, leading visitors and shoppers right to the spot. The narrow lanes of the souq are lined with open and closed-roof stores. It is
heartening that the market has maintained its old-world charm, says KT Senior Photographer Shihab




UAE’s proposed theme for Expo 2020 is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”



Yes….We did it!

Nation erupts in joy as Dubai clinches right to host World Expo 2020; leaders extend congratulations;educational institutions get a day off to celebrate.

IT IS SAID TO truly comprehend the significance of a defining moment one must take a step back and watch it from a distance. That experience is akin to watching a play from backstage with an impartial but highly attuned eye and ear for each nuance as it unfolds.Today, as the UAE celebrates Dubai’s successful bid to host World Expo 2020, perhaps
it is befitting to take a step back in time to gain a true perspective of what the city’s win signifies.Dubai, indeed, is now entering a brand-new realm of growth with the successful bid. More than $8.1 billion will be invested in building new
infrastructure, and some 25 million tourists,nearly 70 per cent of them international visitors, are expected during the six months of World Expo 2020.


In to the world of Falcons

The Falcon Centre at Nad Al Sheba has a fascinating variety of falcons. A unique selection of falcons is found here and it also displays the activities of the bird. It is,in fact, a treasure trove for falcon fans. The falcon has become a cultural symbol for the UAE. Tourists and residents visit the centre which also is a heritage centre with an Emirati
identity. A visit to the centre is an unforgettable experience says, KT Senior photographer Shihab.


Heritage haven

Hatta village is a fine example of traditional villagestyle architecture. Most of the old construction is made of mud, hay,sandalwood and palm fronds. The Hatta Fort is a unique building which hosts a Majlis and a weapons museum where pistols, swords and daggers, used in olden times, are exhibited. Audio-visual information about forts and citadels in the UAE are also available at the fort. Because of a higher altitude, Hatta has milder climes making it a popular vacation
destination. The heritage ambience provides Hatta with the perfect look, says KT Senior Photographer SHIHAB


war page

Just like in the movies….. but these are for real

A visit to the US Navy’s first Afloat Forward Staging Base to counter mine threats

Twelve miles somewhere north of Bahrain, the sun is setting in the purple skies above the Arabian Gulf. Metallica is blasting out of loudspeakers on the landing deck of the USS Ponce, a 42-yearold ship once destined for the scrapmetal heap and which has now been renovated by the crew on board to become the US Navy’s first Afloat Forward Staging Base to counter the mine threat in the Gulf. Arm tattoos abound in the clusters of navy officers and civilians standing around
on board, waiting for a barbeque dinner to be served beside the Blackhawk and Seahawke helicopters: old guys in jeans with long ponytails and beards, young men strutting around in singlets, rolled up cargo pants and bandannas tied around their heads, and make-up clad women with formidable posture and hair neatly rolled up. The Scan Eagle drone, otherwise known as ‘the eyes of the sky’, provides brief entertainment as it is bought down by flying into an almost invisible wire held on a small crane.
This sense of waiting is kind of like the mine threat itself — considering the last publically-confirmed event of a ship being hit here was in the First Gulf War in 1991, the threat is a spectre at the moment, albeit an ominous one.
Mine warfare is indeed a hot topic now, thanks in part to the International Mine Countermeasures Exercise (IMCMEX) 13, a two-week mine warfare exercise hosted by the US Navy 5th fleet, where 41 nations get together, defuse some fake mines, and learn some valuable lessons – and hope these carry through into the real thing, should it ever occur.
To those from the outside, it seems just like the movies.
Central command centres with sonar and radar imaging light up black screens in waves of colours and bleeps, and real-time video images of ships around the Gulf, machine guns firing off 50 calibre rounds and making water spouts
like a herd of whales doing a sychronised breathing exercise, divers dropping out of helicopters into the sea to strap explosives to dummy mines, camouflage-painted speed powerboats with grinning men seemingly too young to arm
the guns, unmanned underwater vehicles sent out like mini-missiles to blow apart these big steel balls
floating in the water.
But the threat is real, organisers say, although they deny the demonstration of capability is directed at Iran.
US Navy senior chief petty officer Jeremy Farr, onboard the USS Sentry, one of five minesweeper and hunters
in the region, points out to the gulf and says “there is a big possibility these things do exist out there”
The threat is greater than the IEDs prevalent on land, given they can do so much damage to ships, stop the
flow of trade, and kill personnel.
“The stakes are a lot higher,” he says. “There’s a history of using mines in this area which tells us, yes
they can be effective. You don’t even need a lot of mines to control an area.
All you need is the threat of a mine.”
While neither Farr nor the captain of the ship, Commanding Officer John Benfield have ever had to destroy a real mine, international cooperation and pre-emptive practice is critical given the stakes, the large geographical area and pressure on resources, Farr says.
Despite the best laid-plans and plenty of warm hospitality, the two-day media visit didn’t all run smoothly — demonstrating in a small way the difficulties of coordinating different navies.
There was a surreal Apocalypse Now-type moment as the group was taken for what Royal Navy lieutenant
commander Andrew Mills described as a “two hour jolly around the Gulf”, from the USS Ponce in search of their
beds upon the Royal Navy’s RFA Cardigan Bay. An estimated 15-minute trip became a long journey on board a
Riverine Commando Boat (RCB) under the stars, the only light visible a single neon bulb illuminating the US
flag at the back of the ship.When a young man manning a machine gun is asked what is going on, he smiles apologetically in the darkness and shrugs.
“Actually I’ve got no idea. They just asked us to check how much gas is in the tank … (it’s) mad communication.”