Dubai rated world’s most popular travel destination on TikTok

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Updated 20 July 2022

Dubai rated world’s most popular travel destination on TikTok

  • The study found that Dubai is the most viewed destination on the entire social media platform by a large margin

LONDON: Dubai was rated on Tuesday as the world’s most popular travel destination for users on the social media giant TikTok, beating New York City, which occupied first place last year.

Titled the “TikTok Travel Index,” the research was conducted by luggage company Bounce, which studied the popularity of different travel destinations according to the frequency of hashtags used on TikTok.

The study found that Dubai is the most viewed destination on the entire social media platform by a large margin, with more than 82 billion posts featuring the hashtag #Dubai, followed by New York City with 59.5 billion and London with 36.8 billion.

London was followed by Istanbul (34.0 billion), Paris (33.0 billion), Miami (24.6 billion), Los Angeles (20.8 billion), Chicago (17.9 billion), Toronto (17.1 billion) and Madrid (16.0 billion).

“Synonymous with wealth and luxury, Dubai has become one of the most sought-after destinations for holidaymakers who want to soak up the sun in style. This ultra-modern city is home to some of the world’s most astounding architecture, such as the tallest building on Earth, the Burj Khalifa,” a statement from Bounce said.

According to reports, Dubai welcomed 6.17 million international visitors between January and May 2022 — an 197 percent year-on-year increase when compared to the same period in 2021.

Dubai’s tourism and travel sectors have recovered strongly after the COVID-19 pandemic, and were strengthened following a successful Dubai Expo 2020 held from 2021-2022.


David Bowie’s handwritten ‘Starman’ lyrics sell for over £200,000

Updated 27 September 2022

David Bowie’s handwritten ‘Starman’ lyrics sell for over £200,000

  • The handwritten lyrics sold for five times as much as the £40,000 estimate
  • The lyrics were previously on display as part of the V&A Museum's David Bowie Is collection

LONDON: David Bowie’s original handwritten lyrics for the pop classic “Starman,” part of an album that catapulted him to international stardom, on Tuesday sold at auction in Britain for £203,500.
Released as a single in 1972, the song about a Starman who would “like to come and meet us but he thinks he’d blow our minds” featured on the Ziggy Stardust concept album.
The handwritten lyrics sold for five times as much as the £40,000 estimate.
The winning bidder was Olivier Varenne, director of acquisitions and alliances and collections at the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania, on behalf of a private collector.
“We had almost unprecedented interest from around the world for this historic piece of memorabilia,” said Paul Fairweather of Omega Auctions.
“We’re very pleased with the incredible price achieved and are sure the lyrics will be rightly prized and treasured by the winning bidder.”
The lyrics were previously on display as part of the V&A Museum’s David Bowie Is collection. They had been owned by the same person since the 1980s.
The A4 page features handwritten amendments and edits by Bowie, including corrected spelling mistakes and additions.
The lyrics were sold as part of a David Bowie and glam rock sale on Tuesday.
In 2019, the first demo of Bowie singing Starman sold for 51,000 pounds after gathering dust in a loft for nearly five decades.
Bowie can be heard telling his guitarist Mick Ronson, who died in 1993, that he has not finished singing the song when he tries to end the demo.
The singer, born David Jones, died aged 69 in New York in 2016.


Outspoken Myanmar beauty queen held by Thai immigration

Updated 23 September 2022

Outspoken Myanmar beauty queen held by Thai immigration

  • Han Lay has been held at Bangkok's main international airport since Thursday after arriving on a flight from Vietnam
  • In a post on her verified Facebook page on Friday, Han Lay said she feared the Myanmar police would come and get her at the airport

BANGKOK: A Myanmar beauty queen who spoke out against the military coup in her homeland appealed Friday for help after being refused entry to Thailand by immigration officials.
Thaw Nandar Aung, better known by her professional moniker Han Lay, has been held at Bangkok’s main international airport since Thursday after arriving on a flight from Vietnam.
She made headlines in March 2021 when she urged the world to “save” the people of Myanmar from the military, which had seized power a month earlier.
Thai immigration officials said she was denied entry to the kingdom because of a problem with her passport.
In a post on her verified Facebook page on Friday, Han Lay said she feared the Myanmar police would come and get her at the airport.
“I request to Thai authority from here please help for me,” she wrote in English, adding that she had contacted the UN refugee agency.
A Thai official told AFP that Myanmar police had not spoken to her and said it was up to her to decide where to fly to from Bangkok.
While in Bangkok competing in the Miss Grand International contest, the former psychology student spoke out against the coup, which ousted the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
“I want to say from here to the world: please support the Myanmar people,” she told Thailand’s Khaosod English news outlet.
“So many people die in Myanmar by the guns of the military... Please save us.”
Myanmar has been in chaos since the coup, with the junta struggling to quell resistance to its rule.
A military crackdown on dissent has left more than 2,300 civilians dead, according to a local monitoring group.
The junta puts the civilian death toll at almost 3,900.

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Israeli researchers find opium residue in 3,500-year-old pottery

Updated 20 September 2022

Israeli researchers find opium residue in 3,500-year-old pottery

  • The joint investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Weizmann Institute of Science began in 2012
  • Researchers found pottery vessels at the site that resembled poppy flowers dating back to the 14th century BC

YEHUD, Israel: Israeli archaeologists said Tuesday they had discovered opium residue in 3,500-year-old pottery pieces, providing evidence to support the theory that the hallucinogenic drug was used in ancient burial rituals.
The joint investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Weizmann Institute of Science began in 2012 when excavations in the central Israeli town of Yehud revealed a series of Late Bronze Age graves.
Researchers found pottery vessels at the site that resembled poppy flowers — from which opium is derived — dating back to the 14th century BC.
They then examined whether they had served as containers for the drug, which earlier writing had suggested was used in burial rituals in Canaan, and found “opium residue in eight vessels,” the researchers said in a statement.
These were likely “placed in graves for ceremonial meals, rites and rituals performed by the living for their deceased family members,” said Ron Be’eri, an archaeologist with the antiquities authority.
During these ceremonies, “family members or a priest on their behalf” would “attempt to summon the spirit of their dead relatives... and enter an ecstatic state by using opium,” Be’eri said.
But he acknowledged that much remained unknown about its use in ancient times. “We can only speculate what was done with opium,” he said.

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Care home mix-up sees Slovenian family bury wrong man

Updated 18 September 2022

Care home mix-up sees Slovenian family bury wrong man

LJUBLJANA: An identity mix-up in Slovenia plunged one family into mourning, only to discover after their grandfather’s alleged funeral that they had buried another man from his care home.
Authorities were left so red-faced on Thursday that the health minister offered to resign after the two men, both the same age and both confined to wheelchairs were taken to the same hospital from the same care home in Slovenia’s eastern town of Zidani Most.
“Somebody buried their father yesterday and today found out he was alive, while another family realized today that it was their father who died,” Health Minister Danijel Besic Loredan told a news conference.
The two residents, one of whom had advanced dementia, were taken to hospital last week suffering from different health problems.
One of them died two days later, only for the wrong family to be informed. After a mandatory forensic check, the family organized a cremation and held a funeral on Wednesday.
The mistake was only discovered after the second man recovered from his illness and returned to his care home, where staff realized that he had the wrong identity tag on his wrist.
“This is totally unacceptable,” Besic Loredan told reporters. His offer of resignation was not accepted by the prime minister. Instead, an investigation into the case of mistaken identity has been ordered.
 

 

 


Cheetahs return to India 70 years after local extinction

One of the Cheetahs released in Kuno National Park, in Madhya Pradesh, India on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 18 September 2022

Cheetahs return to India 70 years after local extinction

  • Wildlife experts say park in India intended to be cheetahs’ new
  • Critics have warned the creatures may struggle to adapt to the Indian habitat

NEW DELHI: Eight Namibian cheetahs arrived in India on Saturday, part of an ambitious project to reintroduce the world’s fastest land animal to the South Asian country where it has been extinct for over 70 years.

Cheetahs, once found in great numbers across Africa and Asia, are facing the threat of global extinction, with their population estimated to be fewer than 8,000 in the wild, down by 50 percent over the last four decades.
In India, local extinction was officially declared in 1952 following years of extensive hunting and habitat loss. Project Cheetah — launched on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, Sept. 17 — is expected to cost $11 million over five years. The Indian Oil Corporation is offering financial support.
“Decades ago, the age-old link of biodiversity was broken and had become extinct. Today, we have a chance to reconnect it,” Modi said after releasing the wild cats into a soft enclosure in Kuno National Park. “Twenty-first-century India is giving a message to the whole world that economy and ecology are not conflicting fields.”

FASTFACT

Cheetahs, once found in great numbers across Africa and Asia, are facing the threat of global extinction, with their population estimated to be fewer than 8,000 in the wild, down by 50 percent over the last four decades.

The plan is to relocate batches of cheetahs from southern Africa into India, until the country has a cheetah population of around 40. On Saturday, the first batch arrived on a Boeing 747 from Namibia and were taken to their new home in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
Dr. Satya Prakash Yadav, director of Wildlife Institute of India, which will oversee the project, told Arab News that this is the first intercontinental relocation of cheetahs that will be released into the wild.
“The plan is to have 20 cheetahs in the first year and after that, depending on adaptability, their survival, their conservation, their breeding and behavior, we will supplement the population every year for the next five years, unless a viable better population is established,” Yadav said. At Kuno, the cheetahs will share 5,000 square kilometers of forest and grassland with other wildlife, including leopards. But experts say that is not enough space for the newly arrived cats to thrive.
The ambitious experiment should provide a habitat of at least 10,000 square kilometers and include a population of wild prey for the cheetahs, according to Ullas Karanth, a wildlife expert at the Center for Wildlife Studies in the southern city of Bangalore. Kuno is too small to sustain a cheetah population, he said.
“That habitat should have been created first before bringing these African cheetahs,” Karanth told Arab News. “The present project puts the cart before the horse, bringing cheetahs before the habitat is suitably prepared.
“This is not a scientific conservation goal, more of a public relations effort which will end up as just another large tourist zoo.”
“The key question that needs to be asked is: What is the purpose of this exercise?” Avijit Sarkhel, a Delhi-based wildlife activist, told Arab News, as he raised concerns about India’s ability to protect the cheetahs.
“I am not sure if this is a wise decision. To me, it is more about reclaiming India’s spot as the largest pool of wild cats in the world,” Sarkhel said. “We need to see how we can manage this.”
Kuno National Park was intended to become home to some of the last remaining Asiatic lions — and experts say that the area is more suitable for those animals. Residents of some two dozen villages were relocated for that project, which promised tourism development for the region.
But the project stalled after the government of the state of Gujarat, where all the Asiatic lions live, opposed the move. Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a plan to bring in cheetahs from Namibia, imported on an experimental basis.
“We should remember that the villages which were evacuated suffer from extreme poverty, malnutrition and backwardness and these problems would have been addressed had tourism been allowed to develop around Kuno National Park,” Ajay Dubey, a wildlife and social activist from Bhopal city in Madhya Pradesh, told Arab News.
With the cheetahs now brought in for the purpose of restoring their population, the “villagers have lost all hopes of improvement in their livelihoods,” Dubey claimed.