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Melania Trump to auction off hat, NFT from Macron’s state visit to Washington

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Former first lady Melania Trump announced on Tuesday she will auction off a famed white hat she wore in 2018, with accompanying physical and digitized NFT drawings.

The three “important one-of-a-kind signed items” commemorate an April 2018 state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington — the first of the Trump presidency.

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Bidding for this lot called the “Head of State Collection” will be held online between January 11 and 25, using the cryptocurrency Solana (SOL).

According to her website, where the auction was announced, bidding will begin at $250,000, currently equivalent to 1,416 SOL.

French-American designer Herve Pierre made the wide-brimmed hat at the request of Mrs Trump, who wore it as she accompanied French first lady Brigitte Macron around Washington.

The autographed collection also includes physical and digital paintings of Trump wearing the hat, both created by French artist Marc-Antoine Coulon.

The announcement states that a “portion” of the proceeds will go towards scholarships for children in foster care to learn computer skills.

Trump’s office did not immediately respond to an email by AFP inquiring about the size of the portion that will be donated.

In her first public project since leaving the White House, Trump announced last month that she would be joining the crypto trend by launching her own platform to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

“I am proud to announce my new NFT endeavor, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative,” Trump said in a statement at the time.

“Through this new technology-based platform, we will provide children computer science skills, including programming and software development, to thrive after they age out of the foster community.”

Using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies, NFTs transform anything from illustrations to memes into virtual collectors’ items that cannot be duplicated.

NFTs rocketed into the mainstream last year and are now traded at major auction houses, generating several hundred million dollars in transactions every month.

Trump’s first NFT was a watercolor of her blue eyes — also created by Coulon — entitled “Melania’s Vision.”

The painting was available for purchase through the end of the year for the price of 1 SOL, or approximately $150 at the time.

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Adele postpones Las Vegas residency due to COVID-19 impact, delivery delays

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Adele has postponed a 24-date Las Vegas residency hours before it was to start, citing delivery delays and coronavirus illness in her crew.

The chart-topping British singer said she was “gutted” and promised to reschedule the shows.

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In a video message posted on social media, a tearful Adele said: “I’m so sorry but my show ain’t ready.”

“We’ve tried absolutely everything that we can to pull it together in time and for it to be good enough for you but we’ve been absolutely destroyed by delivery delays and COVID,” she said, adding that “half my team are down with” the virus.

Adele had been due to perform 24 shows at Caesars Palace Hotel starting Friday following the release of her fourth album, “30.”

In a tweet, Caesars Palace said it understood fans’ disappointment but added: “Creating a show of this magnitude is incredibly complex. We fully support Adele and are confident the show she unveils at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace will be extraordinary.”

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RAK arts festival celebrates 10th anniversary in February launch

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The Ras Al Khaimah Fine Arts Festival (RAKFAF) will celebrate its 10th edition this year, under the theme ‘The Journey,’ a celebration of the annual event’s first decade and the first 50 years of the United Arab Emirates.

The annual arts festival – established under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah – will open to the public on Friday 4 February and run until Thursday, 31 March 2022.

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Artists will share their interpretations of what this theme means to them through the lens of ancestry, migration, national identity, and personal growth.

The historic Ras Al Khaimah pearling village of Al Jazirah Al Hamra will once again provide the central backdrop for the Festival, having been its home for the past three years and standing as a critical bridge between Ras Al Khaimah’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene.

Satellite exhibition sites will also offer unique settings for different events including the public viewing deck of the UAE’s highest peak Jebel Jais and the Open Park on Al Marjan Island.

The free-to-attend outdoor art, photography, and sculpture exhibition will present a diverse collection of artworks from over 150 artists hailing from more than 45 countries. There will also be a vibrant program of film screenings, workshops, guided tours, and other events held across the Festival’s various locations.

The Festival’s Director, Suqrat bin Bisher, noted that despite the global pandemic hitting the event last year, it remained popular.

“After the success of last year’s Festival which played a truly important role in bringing the community together in spite of a global pandemic, we are excited to reach this 10th year in which we celebrate togetherness, humanity and Ras Al Khaimah’s role in the world of art and culture,” Bisher said.

“Our stunning natural landscape offers the perfect backdrop for open-air events from film to exhibitions in addition to helping us broaden the festival’s reach to those who may not otherwise have discovered us.”

Speaking ahead of the Festival’s opening next month, His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, suggested that the 10th year of RAKRAF is a momentous occasion and a cause for great celebration, coinciding as it does with the UAE’s 51st year.

“Arts and culture are vital components in humanity’s ongoing pursuit of greater togetherness and tolerance, as these fields promote the virtues of dialogue, collaboration and understanding, which remain a constant means of uniting humanity. The festival provides a platform for artists from all over the world, as well as our local talent and community members, to come together in a unique location to converse, to forge bonds and to learn, all through the medium of art and culture,” he said.

All international standard COVID-19 safety guidelines are in place for RAKFAF.

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Al Arabiya becomes first regional news channel to exceed 10 mln YouTube subscribers

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Al Arabiya has become the first news channel in the Arab region to reach over 10 million YouTube subscribers.

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Videos posted on Al Arabiya’s YouTube channel have gained over 5 billion views, a number no other competing news channel in the Arab region has reached.
The Al Arabiya team has published 110,000 videos and the hours watched on the Arabic YouTube channel exceeded the 200-million-hour mark.
The numbers also reveal more about the keenness of Arab nationals to follow and interact with Al Arabiya and its published content. Al Arabiya videos on YouTube have received more than 52 million likes, and more than 20 million comments.
Al Arabiya is not only leading the Arab region channels on YouTube, but also on other social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others.
Mamdouh al-Muhaini, General Manager of Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath channels, confirmed that Al Arabiya always aims to lead, whether as a television station or through its various platforms on social media.
Al-Muhaini pointed out that these figures confirm the trust of the viewers and followers of Al Arabiya, “and this trust is a major responsibility that falls on the shoulders of Al Arabiya and its employees.”
He also stressed that “Al Arabiya has not and will not stop improving to keep up with anything new in the media,” explaining that “the content published on the Al Arabiya platforms always takes into account the age group and the geographical location of the reach of each media platform in different countries.”

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