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UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations to focus on ties between people, their homeland

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Set against the scenic landscape of Hatta’s dams, lakes, and valleys, the 50th National Day celebrations planned tomorrow (December 2) will include stories of distinguished UAE figures, including women, who shaped the history of the country.

Audiences across the UAE will be able to watch the official celebration live starting 5:30pm on the official website of the UAE National Day and on all local TV channels.

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From the statistics, one can gauge the amount of work went into the preparations of this much-anticipated event with more than 1,400 individuals from 100 nationalities working over 142 days in the run-up to December 2.

Some members of the UAE Golden Jubilee Celebrations Committee revealed new details to the media on Sunday.

Eisa Alsubousi, Head of Communications of the UAE 50th National Day Executive team, began the briefing by introducing the different facets covered in the briefing video. From the celebration’s brand identity and the role of distinguished UAE figures in shaping the history of the UAE to the celebratory music and dance and the captivating features of the official celebration ceremony.
Saeed Al Suwaidi, Head of Research from Bani & Al Culture of the UAE 50th National Day team, said the celebrations will focus on the relationship between the people and their homeland by emphasizing aspects related to the UAE’s agricultural, desert, mountain, and marine environments. He also noted that the show will include stories heard for the first time about some of the distinguished figures, including women, who played a role in shaping the history of the UAE.
On operations, Butti Al Muhairi, Head of Operations of the UAE 50th National Day Executive team, said that preparations for the celebrations in Hatta started more than 142 days ago. More than 1,400 individuals from over 100 nationalities worked for a total of more than one million and 500,000 man hours on site.
By fusing Emirati traditional song with international music, Music Composer, Mohammed Al Ahmed, of the UAE 50th National Day team, said that this year’s celebrations will include orchestral performances and the tribal vocal art of ‘Al-Nadba’ and ‘Al-Ruwah,’ traditionally performed on national and celebratory occasions. He added that the celebrations will also include music from traditional dance performances such as ‘Al-Ayala,’ ‘Al-Harbiya’ and others. The show will also include poetry which will be featured prominently during the festivities signifying its prominent role in UAE culture.

Floating stage

On the artistic direction front, the official celebration is managed by Rawdha Al Qubaisi, Creative Executive Producer and Artistic Directors, Shaikha Al Ketbi and Es Devlin. One of the extraordinary features of the theatrical show is that it will be set on a floating stage in the middle of the Hatta dam amidst the breathtaking landscape using state-of-the-art technology.
The Artistic Directors of the show noted in the briefing that the show will include state-of-the-art techniques that have never been seen before.
One particular technique used this year in the firework display is the use of drones to lift the fireworks higher in the air, thus reducing the use of pyro material and creating a new breathtaking illusion and mesmerizing experience.
The show also uses mid-air projections by utilizing water screens and a large sculpture to bring to the audience a floating theatrical experience, staged in Hatta Dam and surrounded by the Hajar mountains.
Kholoud Sharafi, Brand Designer from Tinkah of the UAE 50th National Day team, spoke about the design journey of creating the brand identity of the UAE National Day.
Sharafi mentioned how she was inspired by archival materials such as postage stamps, television footage, celebratory letters published in newspapers and even street signage and decorations from around the country.
Audiences across the UAE will be able to watch the official celebration live starting 5:30pm on the official website of the UAE National Day and on all local TV channels. The spectacular show is open to the public, starting from December 4ttill December 12, tickets are available on www.UAENationalDay.ae

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US combat jet crashes in South China Sea exercise, 7 hurt

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A US Navy F35C Lightning II combat jet conducting exercises in the South China Sea crashed while trying to land on the deck of an American aircraft carrier, injuring seven sailors, the military said Tuesday.

The pilot was able to eject before the aircraft slammed into the flight deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Monday and then fell into the water. The pilot was safely recovered by a helicopter, said Lt. Mark Langford, a spokesman for the US 7th Fleet.

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Seven sailors, including the pilot, were injured and three were evacuated for medical treatment in Manila, Philippines, while four were treated on board the ship. The three sent to Manila were reported in stable condition on Tuesday morning, the Navy said.

Details on the crash of the multimillion-dollar aircraft were still being verified, Langford said.

“The status and recovery of the aircraft is currently under investigation,” he told The Associated Press.

Two American carrier strike groups with more than 14,000 sailors and marines are conducting exercises in the South China Sea, which the military says is to demonstrate the “US Indo-Pacific Command Joint Force’s ability to deliver a powerful maritime force.”

Impact to the deck of the USS Carl Vinson was “superficial,” Langford said, and both carriers have resumed routine flight operations.

As China has pressed territorial claims in the South China Sea and increased pressure on Taiwan, the US and its allies have stepped up exercises in the region, in what they call freedom of navigation operations in line with international law.

As the Carl Vinson and Abraham Lincoln strike groups began their dual carrier operations on Sunday, China flew 39 warplanes toward Taiwan in its largest such sortie of the new year, according to Taiwan’s defense ministry.

The formation of 24 Chinese J-16 and 10 J-10 fighter jets stayed out of Taiwanese air space, but the maneuver prompted Taiwan to scramble its own aircraft in response.

Chinese pilots have been flying toward Taiwan on a near-daily basis, and it was unclear if Sunday’s flights were a response to the American exercises. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory. Beijing has used diplomatic and military means to isolate and intimidate the self-ruled island, but the US has continued to support Taiwan by selling it advanced weapons and fighter planes.

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Snowstorms, cold and fire threaten displaced Syrians in northern camps

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Five-year-old Intissar and her younger sister Lin were sheltering from northern Syria’s bitter winter cold when fuel from a heater ignited their tent, killing them and seriously injuring their mother.

The young family and other displaced Syrians were living near the Turkish border in a camp of more than 400 tents, which offer little protection from snowstorms and plunging temperatures which struck in recent days.

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The cold snap has brought chaos to traffic and flights in neighboring countries but its effects are most severe in northwest Syria, where 3 million people have been left homeless in a long-running humanitarian crisis.

Many have been displaced several times by the 11-year war.

“People in the camp are suffering. The tents don’t protect from the cold,” said Nouredin al-Abdullah, whose cousin Ahmed is the father of the girls who died. “If you think about heating, God forbid, you and your children may go (the same way).”

He said the latest snowfall was the heaviest he had seen.

The weight of the snow has collapsed many tents, while water seeped underneath them.

Across the region, food supplies and health services have been disrupted and relief workers are struggling to reach some of the 300 worst affected sites, said Mark Cutts, U.N. deputy regional humanitarian coordinator for Syria.

“The numbers are just staggering, and it is very difficult to provide people with all the support they need,” he said. Desperate to stay warm, people were burning cardboard and plastic bottles, and then inhaling toxic fumes.

“Even more suffering is caused because of the lack of fuel for heating,” he told Reuters, adding that at least one child had died from the freezing cold.

“There are more than 1 million people still living in tents or substandard accommodation,” Cutts said. “It’s becoming increasingly urgent that we get people out of these tents.”

Read more: Syrian prison battle death toll tops 150, concern over fate of minors

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Gunmen kill Pakistani policeman guarding polio workers

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Gunmen shot and killed a Pakistani policeman who was providing security for polio vaccination workers in the northwest on Tuesday, according to police.

The assailants fled the scene, and no one claimed responsibility for the attack in Kohat, local police official Dikdar Khan said. He added that the body of the slain policeman had been transported to a hospital.

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No polio workers were harmed in the attack, police said, a day after Pakistan launched a nationwide anti-polio campaign.

Militants in Pakistan often target polio teams and police assigned to protect them, falsely claiming the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children. Militants have claimed responsibility for previous attacks across the country.

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