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Expo 2020 Dubai to host ‘world’s longest New Year’s Eve celebration’

Twelve international and Dubai-based DJs are lining up to give 2021 a record-breaking send-off at Expo 2020 Dubai on New Year’s Eve.

Headlined by the world-famous Armin van Buuren, the roster also includes DJ Skip, Kanika Kapoor, Anyasa and Dimitri Vegas, who will all be playing at the Jubilee Stage. Then DJ Tala Samman, DJ Jeff, DJ Khaled Mamdouh and DJ Fat Sam can be found at Dubai Millennium amphitheater, with DJ Hannah Ichiko, DJ Fuzzz and DJ Daxx at the Sports, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub.

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Billed as the longest New Year celebration in the world, spanning the time zones of all participating countries at the event, the Expo festivities will take place at various locations across the site over a 13-hour period.

First up at Jubilee Stage is Delhi-born DJ Skip, known for his performance-based sets and innovative scratching technique. He loves being able to express himself to the world through music and promises to get visitors moving early on.

Next is Bollywood playback singer Kanika Kapoor, performing hits such as Baby Doll and Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan, followed by Indian producer Anyasa, bringing his acclaimed live set to Dubai, and Dimitri Vegas from Belgium.

Finally, the king of trance, Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren, will channel the Jubilee Stage’s late night/early morning energy, rounding off proceedings from 1.30am until 4am with his trademark blend of uplifting, progressive and psychedelic trance, with electro house and dance-pop thrown in for good measure.

At Dubai Millennium amphitheater, meanwhile, DJ Tala Samman will get the party going with a mash-up of melodic and deep house, along with upbeat pop and hip-hop.

Excited to be performing on such a huge platform, the Dubai-based DJ says Expo 2020 is the perfect place to “highlight the talent we have in this city”.

DJ Jeff, who originally hails from India but also calls Dubai home, will take over the reins with a blend of hip-hop and South Asian music. The producer, who commends Expo 2020 for providing opportunities to collaborate with artists from across the globe, said: “There’s no better feeling than performing at the biggest event in the world!”

Deep-house DJ Khaled Mamdouh will continue the good vibes at Dubai Millennium amphitheater, counting down to midnight, while DJ Fat Sam will usher in the New Year with a bang.

At the Sports, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub, disk-spinners DJ Hannah Ichiko, DJ Fuzzz and DJ Daxx will also be inviting visitors to join in the countdown celebrations, with upbeat sets that strike a positive tone for 2022.

Entry to all of the New Year’s Eve DJ sets is free for Expo 2020 ticket holders, but visitors are advised to arrive early.

Read more:

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South Africa records two imported cholera cases


South Africa has recorded two confirmed imported cases of cholera, the health department said on Sunday, as it called for vigilance.

The cases were of sisters who had in January travelled to Malawi, where a cholera outbreak since last year has claimed more than 1,000 lives as of January, the highest on record in the country.

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“Both patients had developed symptoms on their return to Johannesburg,” the health department said in a statement.

“A close contact (household family member) of one of the patients was admitted to hospital on 4 February with diarrhea and dehydration, and is considered a possible case,” it said, adding laboratory test results were pending.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal infection caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae and can be deadly if left untreated. It is mainly spread by contaminated food and water.

Cholera is not endemic in South Africa, the health department said. The last outbreak in the country was in 2008/2009 when about 12,000 cases were reported following an outbreak in neighboring Zimbabwe which led to a surge of imported cases and subsequent local transmission.

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Iran ex-President Khatami, former PM Mousavi call for political change amid protests


Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami and former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi have both called for political changes amid the protests triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini.

As the 44th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution approaches, one of the country’s main opposition figures, Mousavi, called on Saturday for the “fundamental transformation” of a political system he said was facing a crisis of legitimacy.

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And on Sunday, Khatami, the leader of the reformist movement, in a statement said: “What is evident today is widespread discontent.”

Khatami said he hoped that the use of “non-violent civil methods” can “force the governing system to change its approach and accept reforms.”

In a statement carried by local media, Mousavi said: “Iran and Iranians need and are ready for a fundamental transformation whose outline is drawn by the pure ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement.”

He was referring to the main slogan chanted in demonstrations sparked by the death on September 16 of Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd.

She had been arrested by the morality police in Tehran for an alleged breach of the Islamic Republic’s dress code for women.

Mousavi, 80, said the protest movement began in the context of “interdependent crises” and proposed holding a “free and healthy referendum on the need to change or draft a new constitution.”

He called the current system’s structure “unsustainable.”

An unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2009, Mousavi alleged large-scale fraud in favor of populist incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, leading to mass protests.

He has been under house arrest without charge in Tehran for 12 years, along with his wife Zahra Rahnavard.

A close confidant of the Islamic Republic’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini, Mousavi was prime minister from 1981 to 1989.

“People have the right to make fundamental revisions in order to overcome crises and pave the way for freedom, justice, democracy and development,” Mousavi said in his statement.

“The refusal to take the smallest step towards realizing the rights of citizens as defined in the constitution… has discouraged the community from carrying out reforms.”

Khatami, 79, made similar remarks, warning that “there is no sign of the ruling system’s desire for reform and avoiding the mistakes of the past and present.”

President from 1997 to 2005 before being forced into silence, Khatami said he regretted that Iran’s population was “disappointed with Reformism as well as with the ruling system.”

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Audit underway after corruption scandals in Ukraine: Defense minister


Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said Sunday that an audit of procurement contracts was underway after corruption scandals but declined to confirm reports that he could soon be forced to resign.

“We have started an internal audit” of all procurement contracts, Reznikov told reporters, but declined to say if he would stay on as defense minister.

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“It is one person — the commander-in-chief, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — who decides whether I will be defense minister or not,” he said.

“My specialization as a lawyer allows me to think optimistically that I will definitely find an interesting project for myself that will allow us not only to win the war, but also to punish the military and political leadership of the Russian Federation later,” he added.

The Ukrainska Pravda news website, citing unidentified sources, reported that Reznikov, 56, could next week be replaced by Kyrylo Budanov, the 37-year-old head of military intelligence.

Reznikov, who studied law, might be appointed justice minister, Ukrainska Pravda said.

One of the best-known faces of Ukraine’s war effort, Reznikov was appointed defense minister in November 2021 and has been overseeing the armed forces throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24 last year.

He has also helped secure Western weapons to buttress Ukrainian forces.

But his ministry has lately been beset by corruption scandals, and defense officials were among a dozen figures forced to resign last month in the biggest political shakeup in Ukraine since the launch of Moscow’s assault.

Reznikov’s deputy Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who worked on providing logistical support for the army, resigned after the defense ministry was accused of signing food contracts at prices two to three times higher than current rates for basic foodstuffs.

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