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Emiratis, expats, entrepreneurs herald the UAE on its 50th National Day

As the United Arab Emirates’ official 50th National Day is marked across the nation on Thursday, expatriates have shared their memories of living and working in the country to mark its historic Golden Jubilee.

With celebrations taking place across the country to herald half a century since the founding of the Emirates, the day holds significance for UAE nationals and expatriates alike.

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Many told Al Arabiya English what the day means to them.

Indian expatriate Arnab Ghosh moved to the UAE in 1991 and described the Emirates as a very different place.

A transformative change

“Back in the days, life was certainly not as fast-paced as it is today,” the 45-year-old said. “The environment was quite laid back. Al Ghurair center was the only major mall in Dubai, with the only other thing that came close to a shopping center being the (now almost forgotten) Al Mulla Plaza, at the edge of Dubai.

“Everything beyond that – of which there was precious little – was considered Sharjah. Then in 1992, the Bur Juman center came along. At less than half the size it is today, that was still a big deal."

“Dubai was pretty much Al Qusais, Deira, Bur Dubai, Karama, Satwa and Jumeirah and anything beyond that was referred to as ‘on the way to Abu Dhabi'."

“When I started working, I remember most of Al Quoz was sand roads. That was one of the first territories assigned to me, as a young account executive selling ad space in the UAE’s first ever telephone directory: the Hawk Business Pages.”

Ananda Shakespeare, of Shakespeare Communications, moved to the country 17 years ago in my twenties and said: “I feel like I’ve grown up with the UAE."

“It really is the land of opportunity. I’ve DJed for rockstars and royalty, written a book, launched community events to promote veganism and finally created a thriving company. This country is always offering more to its citizens."

“What an exciting time to live here with Expo on our doorstep. This is a country that reaches for the stars, literally, with the Hope mission to Mars. We can only wonder what next for this country and the people that call the UAE home.”

‘We are proud to call the UAE home’

Resident Erika Blazeviciute Doyle, founder of Drink Dry, has raised her family in Dubai.

“I am a mother of three little girls and every weekend we try to visit different places in Dubai so they get to know the city that they live in.

“My most memorable moment during the last 3 years in the UAE was when I took my children to Dubai Frame.

“While we were inside the frame on the top level, my four-year-old daughter said she felt like she was standing on top of the world and that she loves living in Dubai.

“As a mother, you cannot ask for more than your child’s happiness. The UAE is the greatest place on earth, and we are proud to call it our home.”

An icon of modernity

Lara Barbary is an expatriate in the UAE, working as a partner at Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP.

She said not only is the UAE an icon of modernity, but it also “one of the safest, most tolerant and most vibrant countries to live in.

“It is the business center of the region and the new land of make-believe. What’s not to love about life here? Be it to start the business of your dreams, to raise a family or to enjoy a spectacular lifestyle, the UAE has got it all.”

Soham Shah, CEO and co-founder of, said the UAE had helped pave the way for entrepreneurs like himself to forge a successful career in the country.

“The UAE is home to us, and this December 2nd we celebrate to the past 50 glorious years of the nation."

“We are glad to have been a part of this journey and we are filled with pride and gratitude that the nation has supported us to pursue our ambition under the visionary leadership.”

Sayed Hashish, a general manager at Microsoft UAE, praised the country’s leadership for making the UAE home to both Emiratis and the more than 200 different nationalities that live and work in the country.

“The true enabler of a nation’s prosperity is found in its visionary and resilient leadership and unwavering dedication by its hardworking citizens to better their lives and others around them."

“It is with absolute pleasure to wish great success to the people of the UAE on their 50th National Day. May this Golden Jubilee grant the greatest rewards to the people of the UAE on their journey of becoming one of the most highly advanced nations on the global stage.”

50 transformative years

Beauty entrepreneur, Anisha Oberoi, founder of Secret Skin, also shared her congratulations to the UAE on its historic day.

“Congratulations to the UAE on 50 transformative years,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the safety and comfort that the country offers foreigners, and for the boundless opportunities that exist for people across cultures and geographies who move here to find home.

“My own life has transformed in the last three years, so thank you UAE for helping me start my journey as an entrepreneur, and for opening up doors that I never imagined possible.”

Slurrp Farm co-founders, Meghana Narayan and Shauravi Malik, also shared their message to the UAE, saying: “The UAE’s efforts and consistent contribution across all sectors, whether it is business, technology, education has been unmatched.

“The UAE has achieved significant milestones over the years and is certainly poised for more phenomenal growth. Moreover, the increasing economic opportunities in the region have given rise to a number of families from across the world making it their home.”

A place of diversity and tolerance

Emirati Mohammad Baker, deputy chairman and CEO of GMG, is proud to be born and bred in the UAE.

“With a clear direction set out by the founding fathers of the nation, fifty years on the UAE is a country that is celebrated worldwide for its diversity, tolerance, and opportunity."

“These attributes and others have made the UAE a global hub for the exchange of ideas and knowledge in an increasingly connected world."

“Despite these many achievements, the UAE is a nation with its vision set on the future. Ambitious sustainable development goals are complemented by a commitment to nurturing happiness and positive lifestyles throughout the society.”

Fellow Emirati Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mutawa, the CEO of the Ducab Group, said the Golden Jubilee is both a time to celebrate the nation’s extraordinary achievements while also envisioning an even more prosperous and sustainable future.

“Over the last 50 years, the spirit of unity across the Emirates has led to groundbreaking advancements across every segment of the economy and society.

“During this time, Ducab Group itself has been a testament to the deep cooperation that exists between the Emirates—particularly Abu Dhabi and Dubai—to progress local industry, and to strengthen the participation of Emirati talent in the industrial sector.

“Looking ahead, we see enormous potential to contribute to the national development ambitions of the UAE, inspired by the ‘Principles of the 50’, the UAE Centennial Plan 2071, and other strategic initiatives introduced by the country’s wise leadership.”

Five decades of remarkable progress

Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO of Alef Education, said the UAE’s Golden Jubilee highlights five decades of remarkable progress.

“This occasion is a testament to the country’s longstanding record of success and achievements.

“The UAE has made great strides in advancing the education sector, recognizing the significant role that it plays in creating a knowledge-driven economy.

“Witnessing spectacular achievements in the past five decades, the UAE government has set out several initiatives and plans, such as UAE Centennial Plan 2071, that aim to provide a world-class education system and equip future generations with the necessary technical and practical skills that will enable them to make positive contributions to Emirati society and the global community.”

Abdulla al-Abdooli, CEO of Marjan, said the nation’s journey in the past 50 years has been defined by several milestones.

“These include the announcement of regional first initiatives such as the long-term visas and the Golden Visas that recognize exceptional talent.

“A real commitment to results, evidenced by the nation’s advances in sustainable development, women and youth empowerment, and economic diversification, which were outlined in the UAE Vision 2021 – and the goals achieved – highlight that the nation and its leadership ‘walks the talk’.

“Another strong testament to the nation’s strength is the committed action, led by the leaders from the forefront, during the pandemic.

“Furthermore, the UAE’s ‘10 Principles of the 50’ highlight the values of tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness and opportunity that appeal to the world.

“The nation’s forward-looking policies and decisive action have had a profound positive influence in welcoming international investors.

“Moving forward, policies such as the Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative and the Operation 300bn strategy will drive the sustainable progress of the nation in the lead up to its Centennial.”

Al Arabiya’s N.P. Krishna Kumar contributed to this report.

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Pakistan military raids suspected former Taliban stronghold, kills three militants

Pakistani troops raided a suspected militant hideout in a former Pakistani Taliban stronghold near the border with Afghanistan, triggering a shootout that killed three militants, the military said Tuesday.
A militant commander was among those killed in the shootout late on Monday in Khyber, a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, according to a military statement.
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The military did not provide any additional details, saying only the targeted militants had attacked Pakistani troops in the past.
The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP , are a separate group but allied with the Afghan Taliban, who two years ago seized Afghanistan as US and NATO troops were in the final stages of their pullout from the country after 20 years of war.
The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has emboldened the Pakistani Taliban, who have stepped up attacks against police and troops.
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West’s failure to back Ukraine’s tactics risks handing Putin major advantage: Analyst

The West needs to fully support Ukraine’s battle strategies against Russia in the current counter-offensive and the ones to come next, because to do otherwise would hand Russia the gift of valuable time to regroup its forces, said an analyst at the Washington-based think tank Institute of Study of War (ISW).

“Ukrainian forces have adapted. Ukraine’s military decision-making is sound. Now is not the time for Western doubt but for the West to embrace Ukraine’s way of war and commit to sustaining Ukraine’s initiative on the battlefield,” wrote Nataliya Bugayova, non-resident Russia Fellow at ISW.

She highlighted that Ukraine recognized the realities of Russian defenses much faster than Western policymakers, who were expecting a rapid Ukrainian breakthrough.

Bugayova stressed that the US should wholeheartedly embrace its collaboration with a capable ally who takes the lead – Ukraine. In many instances, the US has been accustomed to working with partners who depend on it for leadership, whether it's the proxy forces it has trained or allies relying on its security assistance. Yet, in the case of Ukraine, the US finds itself in a partnership where Ukraine is leading on the frontlines. They possess an in-depth understanding of their operational environment, their adversaries, as well as their own strengths and weaknesses. Ukrainians have consistently demonstrated their grasp of the complexities of this conflict and their ability to adapt. Perhaps most crucially, Ukraine's unwavering determination to continue the fight remains undiminished.

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“Now is not the time for Western doubt. The West must reinforce its military and diplomatic commitments and lean in to help sustain Ukraine’s battlefield momentum. Ukraine is still facing an existential challenge from Russia, which requires Western aid to militarily defeat. Leaning in means embracing Ukraine’s campaign design. It means ensuring that the Western training of Ukrainian troops is done in conditions in which Ukraine fights at its best,” she wrote.

She added: “The West should also help shape strategic communications to set proper expectations around Ukraine’s progress. Ukraine can win this war militarily, but it will take more than one counteroffensive operation. It will take as many campaigns as it takes for Ukraine to liberate its territory and its people.”

“The West should be prepared to support them all because the fundamentals shaping this conflict have not changed: Ukraine can win this war, Russia can only be defeated on the battlefield, and what is at stake includes Ukraine’s existence and vital US interests.”

Bugayova wrote that the current objective of the Kremlin is obstruct and hinder Western and Ukrainian decision-making processes, as this stands as one of the few avenues through which Russian President Vladimir Putin can further his goals. Delays in Western decision-making, especially when it leads to sluggish deliveries of military aid, can offer Russia a respite from pressure. Granting Russia such respite, whether at the operational level or the strategic level, has proven to be disastrous.

She further elaborated that with additional time on their side, Russia has the opportunity to regroup and launch further attacks. However, Russia's Achilles' heel remains its incapacity to swiftly adapt when confronted with relentless pressure or a series of setbacks. Under sustained, unyielding pressure, the Russian forces are likely to begin to weaken. This is the desired outcome of Ukraine's present counteroffensive strategy, and it can only be realized if the West embraces Ukraine's approach to warfare for both the current phase and the future.

“Russia’s Achilles heel remains its inability to rapidly pivot when faced with relentless pressure or consecutive setbacks. Faced with constant pressure over time with no relief, the Russians will likely start to crack. This is the effect Ukraine’s current counteroffensive strategy is seeking to achieve, and it can only be realized if the West embraces Ukraine’s way of war for this phase of the counteroffensive and beyond,” she wrote.

Ukraine’s successes on the battlefronts

“Ukraine maintains the battlefield initiative and its forces are advancing in Zaporizhia Oblast and near Bakhmut. Ukraine continues to liberate its territory and people and is slowly but steadily breaking through an incredibly formidable Russian prepared defense — and the Russian forces are unable to stop the advance, which is now moving in two directions,” Bugayova wrote.

She added that Ukraine's military strategy has achieved notable victories against Russian forces. With backing from Western allies, Ukrainian troops have consistently thwarted Russian goals in various regions, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kharkiv Oblast, Kherson, and increasingly, in the southern part of the country. She stressed that Ukraine's efforts have prevented Russian forces from gaining complete control of the skies, while also challenging their naval dominance. This persistent resistance is gradually rendering the Russian military's presence in Crimea less sustainable, a development that was once considered improbable by many observers.

“Ukraine’s decision to keep pressure on Russian forces throughout the entire frontline instead of focusing all of Ukraine’s combat power on one line of attack in the direction of Melitopol, which some Western advisors preferred, was a good adaptation. Ukraine’s decision to hold and conduct counterattacks in Bakhmut allowed it to pin down a substantial portion of the combat power of Russia’s relatively elite airborne (VDV) forces and deny the creation of a strategic Russian reserve. The recent Ukrainian advances in Zaporizhia Oblast are likely forcing the Russians to laterally redeploy their units away from around Bakhmut, where Ukrainian forces are advancing too,” the Russia Fellow wrote.

Black Sea tactics

Bugayova highlighted Ukraine’s “asymmetrical tactics” in the Black Sea which she said are preventing the Black Sea Fleet from operating freely, “forcing Russia to reposition naval assets, and increasingly challenging Russian forces in Crimea — all operational developments of strategic significance.”

This is in light of Ukraine’s missile attack on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea navy in the Crimean port of occupied Sevastopol on Saturday. The Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Monday that the strike killed 34 Russian officers, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The Ukrainian Navy said on Tuesday that the Russians will face challenges in controlling their troops deployed in the Black Sea area after the Ukrainian strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet killed their commander.

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China says it has not been notified about North Korea’s border reopening

China has not been notified through diplomatic channels about any re-opening of North Korea’s borders, a spokesperson at the Chinese foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

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On Monday, China’s national broadcaster CCTV reported that North Korea had allowed foreigners to enter, and that visitors would be subject to a two-day quarantine upon arrival.
North Korea has largely closed its international borders since early 2020 due to COVID-19.

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