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Distance learning extended for another 2 weeks in UAE

UAE Ministry of Education has extended distance-learning programme for another 2 weeks. The ministry has also urged school' staff to get vaccinated before full classroom schooling resumes in the country. "We have high flexibility and great responsiveness in the smooth transition", Hazza Al Mansouri, Official speaker for Ministry of Education said as he announced the extension.

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Lacemaker brings new perception into opening of Dubai Lawrie Shabibi 2021

Dubai’s Lawrie Shabibi art gallery has announced the Lacemaker for gallery’s opening exhibition of 2021. Artist’s third solo will display images drawn from the internet, printed or painted material, and composed with embroidery, painted metalwork, and grooming items. The exhibition to give a new insight into the Shiraz (Iran) and Sheffield (UK) based artist’s intriguing eclectic practice.

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Cyprus cats out in cold as COVID-19 squeezes the economy

Increase in abandonments of cats in Mediterranean island of Cyprus due to COVID-19 economic crunch has left volunteers in great grief. Tala cats rescue centre's owner Lamented Foote said that 30 percent of pet cats have been abandoned by care takers as people don’t have money at this moment. Abandoned cats just "don't know how to survive. A lot of them want to give up”, said Foote.

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Bill Gates owns largest private farmland in US

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates owns 242,000 acres of farmland in the US across 18 states. The largest holdings are in Louisiana (69,071 acres), Arkansas (47,927 acres) and Nebraska (20,588 acres). A nonprofit group launched last year by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is focused on helping small-scale farmers.

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Comedian Sarah Cooper says she’s done lip-syncing Trump

Comedian Sarah Cooper, who shot to fame for her videos of lip-syncing Donald Trump’s comments, said she is done with the routine. She said she will turn over a new leaf as Joe Biden is set to become the next President. She also said that she doesn’t want to be known as the ‘lip-syncing girl’, and plans to break out of the image.

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Milan fashion week: No VIP guest due to COVID-19 pandemic

For the first time, the Italy fashion chamber’s Milan fashion week will not be having VIP’s in the front rows due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Milan has planned to stage live shows with guests during this round after the National fashion chamber maintained a live element during the July and September fashion weeks. Fendi, Etro and outdoor brand Kway announced their events will be live-streamed from behind closed doors.

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UN: World's largest migrant diaspora in all continents are Indians

UN DESA director John Wilmoth said India has the world's largest diaspora with about 18 million people living abroad. According to the International Migration Report 2020, US was the top host country for migrants with 51 million of them which is 18 percent of the world's total living in the US.

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Haryana woman performing cartwheels and backflips in a saree goes viral

Gymnast and fitness influencer Parul Arora performed cartwheels and backflips in a saree. The national gold medalist has been an inspiration by doing easy backflips, while wearing the six-yard tucked around her. She has become an example in performing stunts, while wearing India’s traditional outfit where some cannot run or play games or do any stunts without staying in relaxed gears.

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Sheikh Hamdan gets 500,000 views on his video on skydiving

Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan took to Instagram to share his video on skydiving which received 500,000 views. Earlier the avid nature and animal lover had shared a series of videos of him feeding elephants and camels in Dubai, cycling on the tracks with an ostrich racing alongside, nurturing a falcon, suiting up for a dive. He has over 11 million followers on Instagram.

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Razer unveils Project Hazel Smart Mask

At CES 2021, Razer has introduced a new smart mask concept called Project Hazel. It is an N95 face mask, designed to offer active ventilation and an auto-sterilisation function. It also features a low-light mode, with interior lights that turn on automatically when it is dark. The mask also gets a transparent design that lets others see your face when you talk, through an inbuilt mic-amplifier combo.

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The world’s richest man once turned to a junkyard for repairing his car

Before he became the world’s richest person, Tesla CEO Elon Musk couldn’t afford to even pay a mechanic to repair his first car. Cash-strapped Musk bought replacement glass for $20 from a junkyard for an old 1978 BMW 320i he had purchased in 1993. He made the relevation while responding to a throwback picture posted by one of his social media followers.

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Study suggests what to do when you are feeling lockdown blues

A new study suggests spending time outdoors and staying away from electronic devices such as smartphones can help people cope better with COVID-19 restrictions. Researchers said being outdoors, particularly in green spaces, can promote positive body image and lower levels of depression and anxiety. Using an experience sampling method, the researchers measured levels of happiness amongst a group of 286 adults.

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Study: Hotels that promote women perceived as fairer & less biased

Hotel companies that promote women over an equally qualified man are perceived as fairer and less biased. New research suggests this creates a strong organisational culture and higher financial performance. Nearly 80% of managerial positions in hospitality are held by men. They are given approximately 30% more opportunities than women.

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New syndrome could save bulldogs from cancer misdiagnosis, treatment

Researchers have identified a new syndrome that could be affecting English bulldogs. According to them, several such dogs diagnosed with a type of cancer may instead have the newly described non-cancerous syndrome. It is called polyclonal B‐cell lymphocytosis. The discovery could help save hundreds of dogs from being misdiagnosed, treated for cancer, and even euthanasia.

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Dubai: Exhibition looks at regional histories of image-making

'Growing like a tree' will feature curator Sohrab Hura's past and present collaborations with fourteen artists and collectives worldwide. The exhibition examines regional histories of image-making, through a visual and sonic excavation of place, memory, and culture. The Ishara Art Foundation, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, will present 'Growing like a tree' from 20 January to 20 May.

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Zimbabwe: Taekwondo enthusiast highlights ills of child marriage

Natsiraishe Maritsa, a 17-year old Zimbabwean girl, is a martial arts enthusiast. She has been a fan of the sport since she was 5 and is currently using taekwondo to rally young girls and mothers in her fight against child marriage. Children from the age of four to teenagers gather around Maritsa’s parents’ home to talk about the verbal and physical abuse they have faced.

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'Last Christmas' by Wham tops the chart after 30 years of release

Wham's classic “Last Christmas” finally hit the peak of the charts, more than three decades after it was first released. In 2010, the song was voted the most annoying Christmas song in a poll in Bulgaria. Ridgeley said he was "somewhat amazed" the record had now reached number one. It was streamed 9.2 million times over the last week, knocking LadBaby's “Don't Stop Me Eating” off the stop spot.

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India's homegrown action game 'FAU-G' to release on this date

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar took to Twitter to announce the arrival of India's indigenous action game 'FAU-G'. The much-awaited smartphone action game will be launched on 26 January, which is also the Republic Day in India. Users can currently pre-register for the game on Google Play Store. Akshay also revealed the upcoming game's anthem with a video.

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Dubai resident makes world record for largest greeting card

Ramkumar Sarangapani, Indian expatriate in UAE, has entered Guinness World Records after unveiling a 8.2 square metre giant pop-up greeting card. He commemorated 15th Accession Day of HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, entering his 19th record. The pop-up greeting card is 100 times larger than regular cards, and has a collage of Sheikh Mohammed's paintings created by Dubai-based artist Akbar Saheb.

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PCR COVID-19 tests no longer required for vaccinated staff

Shop and restaurant employees in Abu Dhabi who have taken the COVID-19 vaccine won’t have to undergo PCR tests every 24 days. Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi said the exemption applies to all residents who work at restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, bakeries, malls and shopping centres, butcheries, and other retailers. COVID-19 vaccine is available to residents for free at all vaccination centres.

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Dubai celebrates new song ‘Ya Salam Ya Dubai’ to attract tourism

Dubai tourism announced the global release of a new iconic song ‘Ya Salam Ya Dubai’ to celebrate Dubai. The song was launched on New Year’s day, as part of the 26th DSF by a joint project between Dubai Tourism and MBC Group. The song is a musical tribute to the ever evolving, ever captivating city of Dubai, what makes it one of the best cities in the world.

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Hong Kong's youngest snake catcher Kim Lee makes an impression

Hong Kong’s youngest snake catcher Ken Lee impressed the media, as the 31-year-old self-taught snake catcher strived to release the reptiles back into nature. Lee doesn’t sell snakes but captures them unlike those who catch them and sell them to those who serve reptiles in soups. His experience spurred him to learn about biodiversity and biology and he eventually went on to study that at a university in Taiwan.

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Mexico City says no to single-use plastic, again

Mexico City will, once again, try to ditch single-use plastic. "From today on it's Mexico City without single-use plastics", tweeted city’s environmental secretary on New Year. Earlier, Mexico City imposed a ban on single-use plastic in 2019. The ban is also applicable to plastic stirrers, single-use coffee capsules, balloons, and disposable cups. Mexico City produced around 13,000 tons of garbage a day in 2019.

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Why this US doctor believes music can help with mental stress

A US physician reckons music can ease the strain on mental health. Everett Kalcec, a Family Medicine physician in Minnesota, says that music has been an integral part of humanity since times immemorial. Referring to how COVID-19 quarantine and other related difficulties have affected people, Kalcec said music is “one tool to use ease the strain on your mental health, and help you to recover in the future.”

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Centre extends validity of driving licences, registration certificates

The central government has extended the validity of vehicle documents like Driving Licences (DLs) and Registration Certificates (RCs) which expired since 1 February this year. Such documents will now be valid till 31 March 2021. The government had earlier extended the validity three times this year due to COVID-19 outbreak.

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Haiti’s cocoa industry vying for international recognition

Haiti is slowly developing its cocoa industry, and even though its 5,000 ton production is lesser in comparison to its neighbors, it is vying for international recognition. Feccano, a federation of cocoa cooperatives has become the first group to organise exchanges in 2001 by prioritizing farmers’ benefits. It now works with over 4,000 farmers in northern Haiti.

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Fashion designer Manish Tripathi plans ‘World’s Largest Mask’

Delhi-based fashion designer Manish Tripathi is planning to create a Guinness World Record with his 'World's Largest Mask' project. The mask measuring 100 sqm will be made with fabrics from 10 states. The current record is held by Saudi Arabia for a 72 sqm mask. Manish said the project was inspired by calls by weavers who were worried about their future due to COVID-19.

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Weather advisory for North India: Avoid drinking

People have been advised to abstain from drinking alcohol due to a severe cold wave that is expected to hit Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and northern Rajasthan from December 28. There were increased chances of various illnesses like flu, running nose or nosebleed during the cold wave, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. “Don't drink alcohol. It reduces your body temperature,” the IMD advisory said.

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Turkish designers make silver and gold face-masks amid pandemic

Istanbul Turkish designer Sabri Demirci designs unique face masks of silver and gold for people to help curb the COVID-19. The fashion industry has taken a dramatic change with designers making face masks matching their outfits. The number of people affected by the COVID-19 in Turkey has increased by the day. People are doing their best to go about the normal lifestyle amid COVID-19 pandemic.

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Santa pays surprise visit to Thai aquarium amid pandemic

One of Thailand’s aquariums gave a surprise to the little children visiting, with Santa Claus swimming by with a sack of food for the fish. The aquarium, located in a Bangkok shopping mall became full of excitement as Santa swam in, equipped with fins, oxygen tank and a dive mask. The fish ate from Santa’s hand as he interacted with visitors.

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Athens’ oldest neighbourhood remain empty as COVID-19 denies defeat

Unlike ever before, the streets of old Athens are devoid of pedestrians and motorists even as Christmas arrives. The streets of Plaka are devoid of the usual crowd and stores are shut behind aluminium stores. As per reports, statistics of travellers have fallen by 76.1% ever since the COVID-19 outbreak happened. Moreover, spending witnessed a dip of 77%, the central bank reported.

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How COVID-19 & technology will change ASEAN consumer habits by 2020

Ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states will become the world's fourth-largest economy with a roughly USD4 trillion USD consumer market by 2030. Future Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Markets estimated the emerging markets comprise over 40% of world's population affected by COVID-19, technology, etc. Further, consumer spending will double, driven by ASEAN's middle-class boom.

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Know what inspired this Ivory Coast entrepreneur to produce coloured dolls

In a world where fair is still associated with beautiful, an Ivory Coast entrepreneur is doing her bid to change people’s mindset by producing dark-skinned dolls. Manufactured in Spain and China, Sara Coulibaly’s Naima Dolls currently produces around 150,000 dolls per year. The architect was inspired to take the initiative after being frustrated with stores selling mostly white-skinned dolls.

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Here's why this charity set up a Christmas village at Beirut blast site

Beirut residents will have something to cheer about in a year marked by economic crisis, food scarcity, COVID-19, and a devastating explosion. Opera singer Elias Francis performed on the opening of Christmas village set up in a temporary warehouse damaged in the 4 August explosion. A towering Christmas tree decorated with grimy protective clothing and hard hats worn by firefighters has also been erected at the site.

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Hospital fulfills Christmas wish of child patients with 'hugging curtain'

The 'hugging curtain' at Rome's San Raffaele rehabilitation hospital allows friends and families to have an infection-free hug with child patients. The curtain was introduced to fulfil Christmas wish of child patients who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. Overwhelming scenes were witnessed as the children received hugs from their near and dear ones.

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Customer leaves USD5,600 tip in US restaurant as a kind gesture

An unknown customer left a USD5,600 tip at the Souk Mediterranean Kitchen & Bar in Toledo, Ohio. The tip is meant for all the staff, meaning 28 people would be splitting it for USD200 each. The owner shared the bill on social media, with a photo of the customer’s receipt, appreciating the customer’s gesture of kindness.

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Barcelona women reinvent bike business for delivery

Women in Barcelona followed their passion when things turned hard due to COVID-19 outbreak. After their cycling tour company was forced to shut the women founded a cycling delivery company. The company was founded in July by six women between the age of 35 and 45. They cycle around groceries, drinks, flowers, and neighbourhood shopping associations that have launched online marketplaces.

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Bristol University students left to self-isolate in dark rooms

Students at the University of Bristol spent more than a week in self-isolation with dark rooms. They had to wait until their self-isolation period concludes for their lights to be fixed. Students were left with this problem after a person among them tested positive for Coronavirus. The university said that these issues were scheduled to be fixed when the students had to go into isolation.

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Taiwanese designer turns electricity waste into fashion

Taiwanese designer, Wang Li-ling uses old wires and bolts to give a futuristic feeling to fashion. 36-year-old scour dumps, pick up old bits of metal and wires from Taiwan’s main electricity supplier to add an extra flair to her clothes stitching onto dresses giving an advance touch. Despite COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan managed to feature live showing efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

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'Lost shark' might be 1st shark extinction in human times

A shark that scientists had only just discovered might already be extinct. Experts say this might be the first shark extinction in human times. “This really shows that the world is under huge pressure”, Craig Hilton-Taylor, Red List Unit Head said. The latest Red List update has 31 new extinctions including frogs and freshwater fish.

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More than 1,500 make up artist to attempt Guinness World Record

Beauty professionals from India and abroad are all set to create a new Guinness World Record organized by BEASA. Artists will showcase their traditional bridal makeup skills for “The most users in makeup video hangout”. The monitoring will be done virtually from London. The event is to lift the beauty industry's spirit and help it emerge stronger from the pandemic", said Jaswant Bamaniya, Organiser of BEASA.

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COVID-19, climate change derail Fiji tourism

Climate change and COVID-19 pandemic have affected Fiji tourism. Ashwin Pal, a dive operator, who used to guide tourists around an underwater wonderland before the pandemic, is now living his life hunting fishes. Aside from the pandemic, the island houses 900,000 people. It is regularly hit by category five super storms, the latest being Cyclone Yasa, which hit the archipelago, earlier this week.

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75 years & counting: Italian puppeteer aims to keep tradition alive

String puppeteer Augusto Grilli started with just around 12 puppets when he has gifted a small theatre 75 years ago in Italy. Today, the 80-year-old and his family boast of a collection of more than 20,000 objects from around the world. These include theatres, marionettes, and glove puppets to shadow figures and silhouettes. The items will be on display at new International Puppet Museum due to open in 2023.

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Dubai Shopping Festival begins with power-pact fireworks, LIVE music

Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) began on 17 December with power-pact fireworks, LIVE music, family entertainment, and amazing markets at Al Seef Dubai. The organiser of DSF, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishments highlights the epic events that will last in the city until grand finale on 30 Jan 2021. Visitors can enjoy famous tale of 'The Simon & Garfunkel Story' at Dubai Opera on 19 December.

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Belgium: New agricultural start-up allow anyone to become an urban farmer

A new start-up initiative in Belgium, Peas&Love lets anyone become an urban farmer. 3 urban farms in Brussels and 5 in Paris allow people to harvest their vegetables on rooftops or unused spaces. All of the farming work is taken care by the company, and members are alerted by an app when it’s time to harvest the produce. Scheepers started Peas&Love to overcome gardening setbacks.

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UAE to host major international art fair in 2021

UAE will host a major international art fair in the spring of 2021, coinciding with the country’s Golden Jubilee celebrations. Organisers Art Dubai said the fair will showcase local and regional talent to the world with 85 galleries from 36 countries. A new artist-led programme is also on offer, including 'live art happenings and site-specific experiences around Dubai'. 

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Popular UK toy company suspends international orders over Brexit talks

Model railway maker Hornby has suspended international orders until next January, citing the uncertainty surrounding Brexit talks. "We hope you can understand the difficult position we are in and remain patient with us until we can find a solution", the model railway maker announced on Twitter. Talks between UK and EU negotiators on Brexit have failed to yield any definitive results so far.

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Surprising connection found between prehistoric dinosaurs & mammals

What could prehistoric dinosaurs and their mammal-forerunner predecessors possibly have in common? The complex arrangement of tissues gave both the apex predators their ferocious teeth. The connection has been revealed in a new Harvard-led study. The researchers said they were surprised to find theropod-like serrations in gorgonopsians, previously thought to be unique to theropod dinosaurs.

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How can sense of smell influence body image in mind? Find out

The latest research by University of Sussex indicates that sniffing lemons and fresh citrus fragrance can make people feel thinner. The study suggests that certain scents, sounds of light footsteps can help promote better body image. Earlier, some studies claimed that a person's perception of their body is based on the sense of touch and visual stimulation.

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Why this Jordanian artist is painting face masks?

As face masks have become a permanent feature of people's daily lives due to Coronavirus pandemic, Jordanian artist Saleh Mansour is using his skills to make the safety apparel more attractive. The Jordanian architect and artist draws urban environment and historical places-inspired sketches and paintings on the masks. His art aims to inspire people amid COVID-19 crisis.

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