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Expo 2020 records 5.66 mln visits, boosted by UAE’s 50th National Day celebrations

Boosted by the UAE’s Golden Jubilee festivities, as well as a raft of spectacular sport, music and cultural performances, Expo 2020 Dubai has seen a staggering 5,663,960 visits up to December 5, since it first opened on October 1.
Besides, during October and November, a total of 5,383 government leaders, including ministers, presidents, prime ministers, and heads of state, have graced the Expo site to speak at official events or celebrate their nation’s Expo National Day, with Expo hosting a total of 10,461 events in just the first two months.

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During his visit last week, President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, congratulated Expo 2020 Dubai for “organizing this exhibition and making it a success”.

Proving that one day isn’t enough to experience everything Expo 2020 has to offer, six out of 10 visitors (57 per cent) now hold an Expo Season Pass, with the number of repeat visitors in the first two months reaching 1.2 million.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We are delighted with the figures, and that so many people chose to celebrate such a momentous occasion, the UAE’s 50th National Day, with us here at Expo 2020 Dubai. Two months in, these numbers are a testament to the hard work of everyone involved in Expo, from the hosting of spectacular events that make people want to visit again and again, to the bringing together of global changemakers on a powerful platform for action and collaboration, and – crucially – to our robust COVID-19 measures, which allow us to accommodate such large numbers in a safe, reassuring manner.”

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of November visitors came from outside the UAE, with the top international visitor countries including India, France, Germany, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the UK.

The Expo School Programme has attracted nearly 250,000 pupils from private and public schools across the UAE who have participated in 10,000 dedicated school journeys encompassing The Legacy of the UAE; World of Opportunities; The Universe in Motion; and The Sustainable Planet, while more talented youngsters have delighted visitors from the stage, as part of Expo’s popular Young Stars and Rising Stars entertainment.

Major crowd-pullers

November saw some major crowd-pullers, including the end of Riverdance’s popular run; a spectacular performance from the Accademia Teatro alla Scala; award-winning Pakistani musician Javed Bashir; Egyptian singer Mohamed Hamaki; a KITE (K-Pop in the Emirates) concert and the opportunity to take part in a family fun run with sprint king Usain Bolt.

Other highlights included the Golden Jubilee’s ‘Journey of the 50th’ – a stirring show in Al Wasl dome that skilfully melded the tenacity of the past with the UAE’s visionary present and pioneering future – as well as the ‘The Boy and the Horse,’ a 20-minute theatrical production that honoured His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Expo’s Program for People and Planet in November continued to attract changemakers from around the world, with two of Expo 2020’s 10 Theme Weeks – Urban & Rural Development Week and Tolerance & Inclusivity Week – as well as a slate of festivities and activities to mark World Children’s Day, International Day of Persons with Disabilities and International Volunteer Day pulling in the crowds.

Christmas festivities, more world-class performances

Looking forward, numbers are expected to rise further as Expo’s new Dh 95 Festive Pass, on sale until the end of December, gives access to Christmas festivities and more world-class performances, such as Grammy Award-winner Alicia Keys’ show at Al Wasl Plaza on 10 December, Academy Award-winning composer and musician A.R. Rahman on the 22 December and Broadway superstar Lea Salonga on December 25.

In keeping with Expo 2020’s sustainability aims, an impressive amount of people have travelled to the site using RTA transport. During October and November, around 455,000 rides were made to and from the site using taxis, more than 600,000 trips were made on the free Expo Rider bus service, and 2.2 million users entered and exited Expo via the Dubai Metro.

Expo 2020’s virtual visitation rose to an incredible 25 million, driven by the uptake of Live@Expo, which enables visitors to take a bespoke live virtual tour through the site. was also honoured by the UK’s Favourite Website Awards (FWA) with the ‘Most Favourite Website Award’ for November 2021.

As the largest major global event to be held since the start of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to maintain robust COVID-19 measures, ensuring a safe and exceptional event for all attending. These include the mandatory vaccinations of all Expo and International Participant staff, volunteers, contractors and service providers, while visitors ages 18 and above must present proof of any vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours. Face masks are mandatory both indoor and outdoor, and Expo maintains on site sanitisation stations.

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MBC ANIME to bring anime, manga to the Middle East amid growing popularity

MBC GROUP, the Middle East and North Africa’s largest and leading media company, has launched MBC ANIME, a new hub dedicated to the licensing, promotion, and production of anime content in the region.

MBC ANIME will commission, produce, and invest in a series of anime titles in a venture led by renowned anime and manga expert, Stu Levy, who is also the founder and CEO of leading international anime and manga distributor and publisher TOKYOPOP.

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Often aimed at adults, anime refers to the wide range of Japanese animation that reflects multiple genres and features a distinctly recognisable visual aesthetic and storytelling approach.

“Anime and manga are incredibly popular in the Middle East and North Africa, with Saudi Arabia being the leader in terms of viewership in the region. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in events and activities related to this art form,” CEO of MBC Group Sam Barnett said.

“We are thrilled to announce that Stu Levy has joined us to head up MBC ANIME. Stu is a renowned figure in the anime industry, known for his expertise in distribution, licensing, and publishing. We’re very excited about the prospects for this cooperation,” he added.

Over the next several years, MBC GROUP said it will be investing heavily in the venture to expand further.

During the first investment period, MBC ANIME will forge cooperations with key anime studios in Japan, supporting and investing in numerous projects.

“Having worked with the talented team at MBC GROUP over the past couple of years, I’ve been impressed by their licensing approach and dedication to the space. Their commitment to not only anime but building long-term relationships in Japan made me confident of the real potential for exciting growth opportunities working together,” TOKYOPOP CEO Levy said.

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Eating too little during Ramadan can slow down your metabolism, UAE dietician warns

Eating too little during Ramadan will slow down your metabolism and put your body under stress, UAE-based Clinical Dietician Dr. Sara Abdelghany told Al Arabiya English.

When the human body does not get enough food, it goes into “famine-mode” and lowers its metabolism to ensure its physiological functions are running normally, the dietician at HealthBay Clinic Dubai warned.

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During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset. Many often use the month-long period to kickstart their weight loss journey or improve their eating habits.

But one mistake people may make is not balancing their meals and meeting their required food intake for the day, according Abdelghany.

A woman eating food out of the fridge. (Stock photo)

A woman eating food out of the fridge. (Stock photo)

Medical research has long proved that not getting enough food forces your metabolism to slow down to survive. Severe diets, especially when combined with intense exercise, teaches your body to cling to what little calories it’s being given, making it harder to lose weight.

“Food is a physiological need for the body. Under stressful conditions, such as fasting, our bodies are programmed to lower their metabolism and physiological functions to help us survive,” she explained.

“During this month, if we drastically decrease our food intake, the body will go into famine-mode and lower its metabolism to survive, leading to muscle and water loss more than fat loss.”

Not eating enough also leads to decreased energy levels, headaches, dehydration, sleep disturbances, changes in bowel movements (such as constipation), and increased hunger, the clinical dietician added.

Preventing under-eating

It is very important that people have at least two balanced meals that contain protein, carbohydrates, fats, vegetables, and fruit to keep the body well-nourished, Abdelghany told Al Arabiya English.

They should also have a snack in between meals to help them meet their required macros, she added.

“At both meals, make sure you have a source of complex carbohydrate – such as potatoes, whole wheat bread, or basmati rice; a source of protein, like meat, fish, chicken, eggs, or cheese; and vegetables and fruits, which are very important to maintain a healthy fiber intake to support gut health and avoid constipation and vitamin deficiencies,” she said.

Making sure you eat enough is especially important for those who have an exercise routine, Abdelghany added.

A man exercises at a gym. (Envato)

A man exercises at a gym. (Envato)

“Our calorie intake should always be matched with the level of activity, the intensity, and duration of the exercise performed. Our food intake should be enough, meaning not too little and not exaggerated, to support the exercises and optimize the energy that the body needs, especially during the dry fasts like Ramadan,” she explained.

The general recommendation for exercise is between 150 to 300 minutes per week, the clinical dietician explained.

This means people should get at least a minimum of 30 minutes, five days a week or up to 40 minutes to an hour a day, six days a week.

The time, type, and intensity of exercise depends on each individual’s goals, gender, weight, and physical condition, Abdelghany said.

“During Ramadan, if a person’s diet is balanced, and their macros are complete and well distributed, then they can follow the same exercise routine they did before they began fasting.”

Read more:

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Apple enlists K-Pop girl band in Samsung’s home turf of Korea

Apple Inc. has enlisted K-pop girl band NewJeans to woo users in South Korea — the home ground of arch-rival Samsung Electronics Co. — as the world’s most valuable company bets on a post-Covid global rebound in spending.

The iPhone maker is opening its fifth store in the center of Seoul’s posh Gangnam district, with local media reporting plans to open a sixth this year. Seoul would then have more Apple Stores than in iPhone-loving Tokyo.

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In a rare promotional event on Wednesday, Apple set up a pop-up studio inside the new store, where visitors could listen to an exclusive spatial audio recording of NewJeans’s hit song OMG, which approaches 360-degree sound by adjusting the music to the movement of a device.

Apple is ramping up the offensive in Asia’s key growth markets. Earlier this month, the Cupertino, California-based company launched Apple Pay in South Korea, about a decade after releasing the service in the US. It’s also hiring employees to staff what might become Apple’s first stores in Malaysia, and has plans to set up its own retail outlets in India.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook also visited an Apple store in Beijing with other executives before attending a high-profile business forum in the Chinese capital last Saturday.

Apple now has a retail team of nearly 800 on the ground in South Korea, according to Patrick Schuerpf, director of Apple’s retail business in Asia.

Apple’s use of the K-pop band, backed by Hybe Co.’s label ADOR, is part of a playbook often employed by Samsung — which has a BTS edition smartphone — and Hyundai Motor Co., as well as luxury fashion brands Chanel and Dior. Such artist collaborations often go viral online and fuel demand from loyal fans.

Read more: Apple to begin making in-house screens next year in shift away from Samsung

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