Six clairvoyant creatures with a knack for scoring at the World Cup

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Nelly the elephant took part in a spectacular penalty shootout at the Serengeti Park zoo in Hodenhagen, northern Germany. (AFP)
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During this World Cup, Achilles correctly predicted that Russia would beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match. (Reuters)
Updated 20 June 2018

Six clairvoyant creatures with a knack for scoring at the World Cup

From fortune-telling felines to sea creatures with a knack for backing the winning side, these animals are scoring fans across the world.

Paul the octopus
The sea creature made headlines at the 2010 tournament in South Africa when he correctly predicted that Spain would win the final. His keepers at Germany’s Oberhausen Sea Life Center would offer him two boxes that contained food and had different countries’ flags on the outside — he correctly predicted all seven of Germany’s results. Paul sadly passed away in his tank in October of 2010 — gone, but not forgotten.

Shaheen the camel
A wise camel named Shaheen was discovered by a Dubai-based newspaper among the rolling dunes of the desert and made quite a name for himself during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil by picking 19 out of 29 matches correctly. He has returned for the 2018 edition of the tournament and correctly predicted that Russia would win against Saudi Arabia in the much-awaited opening match.

Achilles the cat
The deaf, snow-white cat who hails from St. Petersburg lives at the Hermitage Museum in the city and chooses between bowls of cat food marked with countries’ flags. During this World Cup, the pet correctly predicted that Russia would beat Saudi Arabia in the opening match.

Nelly the elephant
The elephant took part in a spectacular penalty shootout at the Serengeti Park zoo in Hodenhagen, northern Germany. She made predictions about the 2006 Women’s World Cup and the 2010 World Cup and hit the mark 30 out of 33 times.

Zabiyaka the goat
The white goat, hailed as the “Oracle of Samara,” lives in the southwestern Russian city and predicts winners by eating a plate of food placed behind the flag of various competing teams. The goat this week predicted a draw for Group C match between Denmark and Australia.

Wolodja the tiger
We’re not too sure about this one as the Siberian tiger in the German town of Chemnitz seems to be lacking feline intuition. The beautiful creature was asked to choose the winner of the opening game between Russia and Saudi Arabia but remained staunchly diplomatic and refused to pick a side. Perhaps a posting in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is more in order?

Amira Al-Zuhair walks for Yohji Yamamoto at Paris Fashion Week

Updated 30 September 2023

Amira Al-Zuhair walks for Yohji Yamamoto at Paris Fashion Week

DUBAI: Saudi model Amira Al-Zuhair hit the runway for Japanese-helmed label Yohji Yamamoto and French jewelry brand Messika at Paris Fashion Week, just days after she walked for French label Balmain.

Japanese fashion designer Yamamoto, who is based in Tokyo and Paris, sent models down the runway in an assortment of all-black looks as part of the labels Spring/Summer 2024 collection.

Earlier in the week, Al-Zuhair opened the Balmain show during Paris Fashion Week. 

The rising star, who was born in Paris to a French mother and Saudi father, wore a white polka dot jumpsuit with colorful three-dimensional flower designs around the chest.  

When Gertrude Stein, a close confidant of house founder Pierre Balmain, penned “a rose is a rose is a rose,” she likely never envisaged its metamorphosis into a Paris runway’s guiding theme. Yet, designer Olivier Rousteing, embracing this iconic friendship, orchestrated a floral ode for Balmain’s Spring 2024 show. 

Rousteing channeled the essence of Balmain’s couture from the late 1940s and early 1950s, celebrating Balmain’s architectural wizardry. With every fold, cut and stitch, he echoed the legacy of the maison, fused with his own brazen touch. Sprinklings of the petit pois (polka dot), a staple from Monsieur Balmain’s era, added whimsy amid the blossoming rose narrative. 

K-Pop’s Super Junior ‘looking forward’ to performing at KCon in Saudi Arabia 

Updated 30 September 2023

K-Pop’s Super Junior ‘looking forward’ to performing at KCon in Saudi Arabia 

DUBAI: South Korean boy band Super Junior are gearing up to perform at Saudi Arabia’s popular K-Pop music festival KCon, which will be held at Boulevard Riyadh City on Oct. 6 and 7. 

The group — which consists of Leeteuk, Heechul, Yesung, Shindong, Sungmin, Eunhyuk, Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook and Kyuhyun — will hit the stage on Oct. 7.  

In an interview with Arab News, Shindong said that the group is looking forward “to proper fandom culture. I hope that singers and fans will work together to have a positive impact on society,” he said.  



A post shared by KCON (@kconofficial)


For his part, Donghae, said:  “I am looking forward to performing in Saudi Arabia after a long time and I am glad to be able hear the cheering of Saudi fans again. I know that K-Pop is very popular in Saudi Arabia, so I want to perform there quickly.” 

“We will make you happy and (give you) precious memories  — as much as the time you waited,” he promised his fans.  

Ryeowook views art as a powerful connective tool.  



A post shared by KCON (@kconofficial)


“We would be honored if many future artists were inspired by Super Junior and found themselves in great positions,” he told Arab News. “I want to show you songs and performances that can have a positive impact right here and now.”  

During the interview, Siwon said he would love to collaborate with local talent in the Kingdom. “I really hope this will happen. I believe that collaboration in the field of cultural exchange is a great development for both countries,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Leeteuk was surprised to learn that people in the Kingdom are fans of K-Pop. “I was very surprised and once again moved by their passion. I will do my best to repay their passionate love,” he said.  

Eunhyuk, who will perform twice at the festival, told Arab News: “We will be able to show you Super Junior and Super Junior-D&E’s performance together, so you will be able to see the charm of our diverse music and performances.” 



A post shared by KCON (@kconofficial)


Super Junior falls under South Korean multinational agency SM Entertainment, which manages groups like EXO, SuperM and Red Velvet.  

The first day of the festival will see performances by Riize, Everglow, Highlight, Hyolyn, Kard, Super Junior-D&E (which are members Donghae and Eunhyuk) and 8Turn.  

On the second day, Super Junior will perform alongside Dreamcatcher, El7z Up, Evnne, Oh My Girl, Tempest and TNX.  

The event, which launched in Los Angeles in 2012, is said to be one of the largest Korean cultural festivals worldwide.  

The Kingdom’s hosting of the event is part of an agreement signed between the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Seoul-based entertainment company CJ ENM in June 2022. It also reflects the ministry’s efforts to boost international cultural exchange in line with the goals of Vision 2030. 

Review: Chilling drama ‘Wilderness’ is a wild – if overly long – ride

Updated 30 September 2023

Review: Chilling drama ‘Wilderness’ is a wild – if overly long – ride

LONDON: From the first beats of the first trailer, it’s very clear what “Wilderness” is about – newly married Liv (Jenna Coleman) has discovered her husband’s infidelity and, during a spectacular American road trip, decides to seek revenge in the most definitive way possible. It’s also set to Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do (Taylor’s Version)” so you don’t have to be Benoit Blanc to deduce what’s about to go down. 

But then you realize that “Wilderness” is six episodes long, so perhaps there’s more to the story than a simple tale of a scorned woman settling the score? 

Well, yes and no. There’s more to learn about Liv’s marriage to handsome, charismatic Will (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), her relationship with her abrasive mother (Claire Rushbrook) and what brought the newlyweds to the US in the first place. There’s more sleuthing for Liv to do as she reveals the extent of Will’s philandering, and there’s some commentary on the trope of the slighted wife and how reductive it can be.  

But there certainly isn’t six episode’s worth of material, so “Wilderness” ends up feeling stretched thin in some places, and overly padded in others. Ironically, after congratulating itself for reflexively highlighting how women are always assumed to be the unhinged victims of male misbehavior, the show decides to rob Liv of much of her agency. She’s either reacting to things Will has done, or scrabbling to adjust when his web of lies throws up another curveball. 

Coleman is captivating, that’s for sure, but she’s slightly penned in by a character who flits from empowered decisiveness to pleading submissive so easily that it’s hard to get a firm handle on exactly who Liv is. At times, she’s steely and cold, at others she falls foul of many of the tropes “Wilderness” attempts to send up.  

“Wilderness” is certainly a gorgeous, stylish show. It’s just a shame that it’s two episodes – and twists – too long.

Bruno Mars hits the stage with ‘Uptown Funk’ in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

Updated 30 September 2023

Bruno Mars hits the stage with ‘Uptown Funk’ in Saudi Arabia’s AlUla

DUBAI: Grammy-winning singer Bruno Mars was joined on stage at the Azimuth Canyon in AlUla by Saudi DJ Shaolin and DJ Loush on Friday night.

Mars’s performance was held at the same site that hosted the contemporary outdoor art exhibition Desert X AlUla in 2022 and where the flagship music and entertainment festival Azimuth took place the week prior.

The US singer-songwriter hit the stage with some of his greatest hits, including “Just The Way You Are” and “Uptown Funk” as the crowd sang along.

Meanwhile, DJ Shaolin previously hit the stage at some of Saudi Arabia’s leading events, including XP, MDLBEAST BRIJ, and the Red Sea International Film Festival, and has been a Resident DJ at Riyadh’s Black Tap since 2022. DJ Loush has played at MDLBEAST, F1, and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The concert marked the launch of the AlUla Moments’ 2023/24 concert series.

Arab movies ‘Inshallah a Boy,’ ‘Bye Bye Tiberias’ join Oscars race 

Updated 29 September 2023

Arab movies ‘Inshallah a Boy,’ ‘Bye Bye Tiberias’ join Oscars race 

DUBAI: Jordan has submitted Amjad Al-Rasheed’s movie “Inshallah a Boy” and Palestine submitted Lina Soualem’s documentary “Bye Bye Tiberias” for consideration in the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards, it was announced this week. 

This means that both films are considered for the shortlist. If the Arab movies get shortlisted, they could then get nominated for an Academy Award.

“Inshallah a Boy” was the first Jordanian film to compete in the Cannes Film Festival in May. The feature film was chosen to compete in Cannes Critics’ Week, a subsidiary event that ran alongside the 76th edition of the festival. 

“Bye Bye Tiberias” is by Lina Soualem. (Supplied)

The film, titled “Inshallah Walad” in Arabic, portrays the narrative of a young widow, Nawal, and her daughter, who are about to lose their home. 

The 90-minute film was shot last year in the Jordanian capital Amman over the course of five weeks. It received a Jordan Film Fund and Royal Film Commission production grant in 2019, as well as a post-production grant in 2022. 

In the much-hyped documentary “Bye Bye Tiberias,” Soualem, who is French, Palestinian and Algerian, captures the stories passed on by four generations of Palestinian women in her family, one of whom is her mother Hiam Abbass, the actress whose credits include “Succession,” “Ramy,” “Inheritance” and “Munich.”  

Soualem accompanies her mother and questions her choices as Abbass returns to her native Palestinian village 30 years after she left in her early 20s to follow her dream of becoming an actress in Europe, leaving behind her mother, grandmother, and seven sisters.  

The film will screen in the Documentary Competition section of the 67th BFI London Film Festival, set to take place from Oct. 4 – 15, 2023. 

Jordan and Palestine are not the only two Arab countries that submitted movies for the Oscars. 

Egypt has selected Mohamed Farag-starring “Voy Voy Voy!” while Yemen has selected director Amr Gamal’s “The Burdened” and Tunisia is competing with Kaouther Ben Hania’s “Four Daughters.”

Morocco has selected Asmae El Moudir’s documentary “The Mother of All Lies.”