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UAE ranks first in the Arab world,11th globally in latest Global Knowledge Index

In the fifth edition of the Global Knowledge Index leaders for 2021 unveiled on Monday, the UAE was ranked 11th globally and first in the Arab World.
Switzerland came in the first place globally for the fifth year in a row, followed by Sweden, the US, Finland, and the Netherlands.

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GKI 2021, this year’s edition of the knowledge index included 155 variables, selected by more than 40 international sources and data bases.
The Global Knowledge Index, aims to measure knowledge globally as a comprehensive closely connected with sustainable development and with different dimensions of modern human life, and is prepared by ), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Dubai-based Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF).
The GKI, produced annually since 2017, is a summary measure for tracking the knowledge performance of countries at the level of seven areas, namely pre-university education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, research, development and innovation, information and communications technology, economy and the general enabling environment.
Oher countries in the GKI global leader list up to the 100th position included Qatar at the 38th place, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at 40, Kuwait (48), Oman (52), Egypt (53), Bahrain (55), Tunisia (83), and Lebanon (92).
Morocco was at 101 globally, followed by Jordan (103), Algeria (111), Iraq (137), Sudan (145), Mauritania (147) and Yemen (150).
Globally, the country level participation at GKI 2021 was at 154, compared to 138 last year.
“The world is not completely out of the grip of COVID-19, but without doubt what stands out as we negotiated these trying times, is the relentless quest for knowledge that led us to develop vaccines as well as remedial and precautionary measures against the virus. Obviously, this continuing focus on knowledge and its triumph is what has led us to bring back careful normalcy in our daily life, and what has enabled this face-to-face meeting today,” said Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO, MBRF.
He said this year there has seen an extended participation in GKI endeavor, globally as well regionally, signifying the increased commitment towards reinforcing knowledge as a key driver for economic and social growth. The Arab countries which debuted this year included Iraq and Palestine, joining the portfolio of 16 regional countries in the index.
“When the word stands at these challenging crossroads, the increased global participation at GKI is a robust indicator of how knowledge is the single most factor that will help world nations prosper and lead in front for the benefit of posterity with sustainable focus. In this context, the GKI series has developed into an accepted and prudent benchmark in assessing knowledge-based societies and their growth,” said Dena Assaf of the UN.
“It is encouraging to see that in certain key branch indexes that drive knowledge, innovation and education, Arab countries have been faring well and is firmly on the road to progress. Significantly, it shows the positive impact of the awareness that the new world is largely shaped and led by countries that have an edge in knowledge,” said Khaled Abdel-Shafi, Regional Hub Manager, UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States (UNDP-RBAS).
The launch ceremony was also immediately followed by a ministerial panel on ‘Rethinking Policymaking in the Age of Knowledge,’ with the participation of Hussain Al Hammadi, UAE Minister of Education, Dr. Tarek Shawki, Minister of Education, Egypt, Ahmed Hanandeh, Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship, Jordan, Dr. Fadia Kiwan – Director General, Arab Women Organization, and moderated by Dr. Hany Torky – Manager, Knowledge Project, UNDP-RBAS.
The average global performance rate at GKI 2021 stood at 48.4 per cent, while for the seven branch indexes of the index, the best performance was for pre-university education at 60.8 per cent, followed by enabling environment (55.3), economy (52.9), technical learning and professional training (51.2), higher education (46.1), ICT (43.3), and research and development and innovation (31.4).
GKI is produced annually since 2017 by the Knowledge Project, a partnership between UNDP-RBAS and MBRF.
The index includes 155 variables, selected from over 40 sources and international data bases including the UNESCO, World Bank, ITU, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Labour Organization (ILO) etc.
“Over the years the Knowledge Project and GKI have been able to facilitate a strategic and forward-looking policy push among countries and decision makers to give more weightage to knowledge-centric development. This shift in developmental vision is imperative in times when sustainability has also become a core issue that needs to be addressed with alacrity, and the institution of GKI has added immense value to this context,” said Dr. Hany Torky, Manager, Knowledge Project, UNDP-RBAS.

Read more: Comprehensive plan for development of Arab culture to be discussed at UAE conference

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Abraham Ancer completes wire-to-wire win in Saudi Arabia’s golf tournament


Abraham Ancer of Mexico closed with a 2-under 68 for a two-shot victory over Cameron Young in the Saudi International on Sunday.

Ancer capped off a wire-to-wire victory, which featured a majority of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf league. It was his third worldwide victory.

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Young, the PGA Tour rookie of the year, received a release to compete in the Asian Tour event. It was his sixth runner-up finish in the last 16 months.

He caught Ancer briefly on the front nine until a two-shot swing on eighth home — Ancer made birdie, Young made a bogey — that restored Ancer's two-shot lead.

Lucas Herbert of Australia had a 65 and finished third.

Young now heads to back-to-back elevated events on the PGA Tour in Phoenix and Los Angeles. Ancer, who joined LIV last summer, has two weeks off before LIV Golf begins its second season.

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Grammy awards: Will megastar Beyonce finally win top honor of best album?


Pop superstar Beyonce, winner of more Grammy awards than any other female artist, has never taken home the coveted album of the year trophy at the music industry’s highest honors.
That could change on Sunday, according to industry experts and awards pundits, although it is not a sure thing in a formidable, wide-ranging field that includes Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, pop musician Harry Styles, singer and flutist Lizzo, and disco-era Swedish hitmaker ABBA.
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Winners will be announced during a ceremony that will be broadcast live on US broadcast network CBS and streamed on Paramount+ starting at 5 p.m. Pacific time/8 p.m. Eastern time (0100 GMT on Monday).
Beyonce heads into the show in Los Angeles with nine nominations, including an album of the year nod for dance-heavy album “Renaissance.” She has won 28 Grammys over her career, and she could break the all-time record of 31 on Sunday.
But the top prize has escaped her. The acclaimed 2016 album “Lemonade” was defeated by Adele’s “25,” prompting the British vocalist to say on stage that Beyonce deserved the honor.
Beyonce “is about to be the most-winningest Grammy award winner. There’s almost no way she’s not going to break the record," said Jem Aswad, deputy music editor for Variety.
“But she has never won album of the year, one of the top awards, and that’s just wrong,” he added.
Adele, who has claimed the album trophy twice, also is in the mix this year with “30.” It is possible that Adele and Beyonce voters could cancel each other out, Aswad said, opening a door for Styles to prevail with “Harry’s House.”
Beyonce’s other nominations include record and song of the year for “Break My Soul.” If she wins at least four awards, she will top the late classical conductor Georg Solti as the most-decorated artist in Grammys history.
The winners are chosen by roughly 11,000 members of the Recording Academy, which has faced complaints that it has not given Black talent proper recognition. The organization has worked to diversify its membership in recent years.
In the best new artist category, contenders include Italian rock band Maneskin, jazz artist Samara Joy, American bluegrass singer Molly Tuttle and TikTok phenom Gayle, who rose to fame with “abcdefu.”
Taylor Swift’s 10-minute version of her 2012 song “All Too Well” was nominated for best song. Swift’s latest album, “Midnights,” was released after this year’s eligibility window, which ran from October 2021 through September 2022.
Comedian Trevor Noah will host Sunday’s awards show. Scheduled performers include Styles, Lizzo, Sam Smith, Luke Combs and Bad Bunny. First lady Jill Biden is among the night’s presenters.
Like other awards shows, the Grammys have seen their television audience decline in recent years. Last year’s ceremony drew roughly 9 million viewers, the second-smallest on record.
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Lebanon hopes UNESCO danger listing could save Trpoli’s modernist fairground


Its arch is cracking and its vast pavilions lie empty, but the crubling Rachid Karami International Fair in Lebanon’s port city Tripoli now has hope of revival, having been added to the United Nations’ list of world heritage sites in danger.
Designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1962, the collection of structures on the 70-hectare plot is considered one of the key works of 20th century modernism in the Middle East.

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But the fair park has slowly decayed due to repeated rounds of fighting over the last 60 years, poor maintenance and most recent-ly Lebanon’s crippling, three-year-old financial crisis.
“It was placed on the World Heritage List exceptionally, quickly and urgently –- and on the list of heritage in danger because it’s in a critical situation,” said Joseph Kreidi, UNESCO’s national pro-gram officer for culture in Beirut.
Its elegant arch is missing concrete in some parts, exposing the rebar underneath. Rainwater has pooled at the locked
entrances. One section is sealed off by a sign that reads, “Unsafe building entry.”
“Placing it on the World Heritage Danger List is an appeal to all countries of the world, as if to say: this site needs some care,” said Kreidi.
He said it was up to the Lebanese authorities to draw together a plan for the site’s protection and rehabilitation but that UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural agency, could help search for funding and provide technical expertise.
Lebanon has five other sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, most of them citadels and ancient temples.
Niemeyer is recognized as one of the fathers of modern architeture and the site in Tripoli was an early foray into the Middle East.
Construction of the fairground began in the 1960s but was delayed when civil war erupted in Lebanon in 1975. Fighters used the site to stage operations and stored weapons underneath its concrete dome.
Mira Minkara, a freelance tour guide from Tripoli and a member of the Oscar Niemeyer Foundation’s Tripoli chapter, has fond — but rare –- memories of the fairground as a child.
For the most part, it was off-limits to Tripoli’s residents given safety concerns. But Minkara remembered her first visit during a festival of pan-African culture and crafts.
She hopes that UNESCO’s recognition could bring new festivals, exhibitions, and economic benefits to Tripoli –- already one of the poorest cities on the Mediterranean before Lebanon’s financial meltdown began.
Lebanon’s cultural heritage has been hit hard in recent years. The 2020 Beirut port blast tore through 19th-century homes in historic neighborhoods and power outages caused by the financial crisis have cut supplies to the national museum.
“We hope things change a little,” Minkara said. “It’s high time for this fairground to emerge from this long sleep, this almost-death.”

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