Beware, e-cigarettes are being used to smoke drugs in UAE

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Amira Agarib/Dubai
Filed on April 15, 2018 | Last updated on April 15, 2018 at 06.02 pm
Its users smoke them at commercial centres, homes and even at the workplace.- Alamy Image

The danger of this trend lies in the fact that e-cigarettes are more socially acceptable than their traditional counterparts.

The Dubai Police have recorded 17 instances of youngsters mixing drugs in electronic cigarettes and smoking them, a top officer revealed on Sunday. As part of a study, the department of evidence examined 103 e-cigarettes seized in the country and found that 17 were used to smoke drugs.

According to Khalid Al Sumaiti, a senior forensic expert, in two cases, a cocktail of five different drugs was smoked. Fourteen of the e-cigarettes were used to inhale cannabis oil.

E-cigarettes are banned in the UAE, but residents procure them illegally via social media platforms and some commercial centres, he said.

Al Sumaiti said criminals mixed drugs, including a synthetic cannabis called ‘spice’, in liquid mixtures that come with e-cigarettes and circulated them.

“The danger of this trend lies in the fact that e-cigarettes are more socially acceptable than their traditional counterparts. Its users smoke them at commercial centres, homes and even at the workplace as they are considered not harmful and a way to quit smoking.

“It has now been converted into a drug abuse tool,” said Al Sumaiti.

He said the study has proven the role of “e-cigarettes in drug abuse”.

The officer called for more stringent measures to prevent the circulation of e-cigarettes, whether online or through commercial centres.


Source :  The Khaleej Times

Century-old Queensland pub shows off ‘bush carpenter heritage’ to the world

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By Amy Mitchell-Whittington

A transformed century-old Queensland pub nestled in the birthplace of the Labor Party has been selected to represent Australia at an international architecture exhibition later this year.

Standing in Barcaldine, east of Longreach, The Globe Hotel was built in 1910 and owned by a handful of local families before it was purchased by the Barcaldine Regional Council in 2011.

Barcaldine's century-old landmark, the Globe Hotel, has been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Barcaldine’s century-old landmark, the Globe Hotel, has been selected to represent Australia at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Photo: Christopher Frederick Jones.

Wanting to revitalise the town, the council called in the help of Architecture firm m3architecture to transform the property, in association with Brian Hooper Architect, near where the famous shearers’ strikes of 1891 were held.

The town is widely regarded as the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party, with many of the strikers going on to hold public office.

Director Michael Lavery said the building, which sits on the junction of two major highways, was not heritage-listed but was considered integral to local heritage.

 “When a building sits in that zone, as an architect, you get a surprising amount of flexibility to draw out what is great about it and add to it and change it if you want to,” he said.

“We had to rebuild the verandahs, they were decrepit … but we largely kept the original timber structure intact.”

The original building was single-skin construction, which meant anyone could see and understand how the building was created, from how the frames were built to how the doors were hung.

“Everything about the building and how it is built is on show and that is a really lovely thing,” Mr Lavery said.

“In a way it is part of the bush carpenter heritage.”

“What we wanted to do, when we put openings in the building or when we added the verandahs back on, we wanted to continue that sense of being able to see how the building was built.”

With its internal structure left untouched, the pub turned hub houses the Tourist Information Centre, an art gallery, local history room and bank, with future additions likely to include a library and theatre space.

m2architecture directors (L-R): Michael Christensen, Michael Banney, Ben Vielle and Michael Lavery.
m2architecture directors (L-R): Michael Christensen, Michael Banney, Ben Vielle and Michael Lavery.

Photo: Supplied.

Mr Lavery said the rebuild had helped maintain the history of the town and the stories connected with the pub.

“When Kim Beazley was the opposition leader and he was preparing the Labor party to fight that election, he took the entire shadow cabinet to stay in that pub as a way of preparing them in the Labor heartland,” he said.

“It is really important for small towns, particularly Australian country towns, to retain some of our heritage because it is part of the reason those of us who live in the city want to go and visit, we want to see that character.”

The Globe Hotel was chosen as part of 15 projects from Australia to represent the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale theme “repair”.

The Biennale includes participants from more than 60 countries and will run from May to November 2018.


Source :  The Brisbane Times

In closing, why you should expand your thinking on Commonwealth Games

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By Phil Lutton

A few days after his historic gold medal in the 400m hurdles, Kyron McMaster held court at the Commonwealth Games to explain the expectation on his young shoulders and how deeply victory was felt in his native British Virgin Islands.

Prior to his 48.25s whirl around Carrara Stadium, the BVI had never won a medal of any colour at either an Olympics or Commonwealth Games. When it came, it was the perfect colour. Over in the Caribbean, it was their America’s Cup moment.

Kyron Mcmaster of the British Virgin Islands, left, and the Bahamas' Jeffery Gibson celebrate their gold and silver medals in the men's 400m hurdles final.

Kyron Mcmaster of the British Virgin Islands, left, and the Bahamas’ Jeffery Gibson celebrate their gold and silver medals in the men’s 400m hurdles final.

Photo: AP

“People were messaging me like crazy before the race. It was like ‘no pressure… but you have to win the medal’. To win it for the British Virgin Islands after what we’ve been through, everyone was just so happy,” a beaming McMaster said.

“I don’t think anyone went to work that day. They just partied and had fun. So I was happy to brings some joy back to the islands. It gave them hope.”

It is hope they need. Back in September, Hurricane Irma ravaged the Islands, flattening or damaging almost every building and leaving 6000 people without homes. Of the 134 people killed, one was McMaster’s former coach, Xavier Samuels.

 “They see me do it… this town boy can do it, we can do it,” McMaster said. “I know athletes back home are looking at me for motivation.”
Usain Bolt performs on stage with the Games mascot, Borobi, during the closing ceremony.
Usain Bolt performs on stage with the Games mascot, Borobi, during the closing ceremony.

Photo: AAP

The Commonwealth Games, especially one played out on home soil, are inevitably viewed through the Australian prism. They stories all been worthy – some beyond inspirational – but they are only a few of the narratives that stretch out to a third of the world’s population.

McMaster’s was one of the best. So too that of New Zealand’s Dame Valerie Adams, shot put silver just six months after welcoming a baby daughter, and England’s giant-killing netballers, whose stunning upset of Australia will be a game-changer for the sport in that country.

Perhaps Australians that stubbornly dismiss the Games are victims of medal fatigue. There were plenty to be had in green and gold. The host nation had 198 (80, 59, 59) in total by the time the party started on Sunday night, well clear of England, then India.

Kurt Fearnley carries the Australian flag into Carrara Stadium.

Kurt Fearnley carries the Australian flag into Carrara Stadium.

Photo: AAP

Yet the same critics who cry on social media that ‘nobody cares’ about this revamped relic of another age are content to go back to AFL or rugby league, two famously insular sports that rarely cause a ripple beyond our shores.

As Australia’s road race champion Chloe Hosking said with gusto: “It’s so special to win on home soil. People say for road cycling Commonwealth Games isn’t that big a deal but you know what? I’m Commonwealth Games champion and it’s a big fucking deal.”

Too fucking right. Anyway, as much as punter with a Twitter account think they can change the world, none of the athletes cared two licks by the time the Closing Ceremony kicked into life with the voices of Amy Shark and Archie Roach.

Archie Roach and Amy Shark get the entertainment under way.

Archie Roach and Amy Shark get the entertainment under way.

Photo: AAP

They came, competed, finished first, last or somewhere in between and loved every minute of it. There were stories to behold and none should be diminished (shout out to Emily Seebohm). Few were better than Kurt Fearnley, the great para athlete chosen to carry the flag in his final Games.

People regularly point that the Games of the Commonwealth aren’t the Olympics. Sometimes, that’s a very good thing. To see Fearnley pump his arms like pistons on a locomotive in prime time, to hearhim talk with such vigour about improving the lives of people with a disability, was something to truly behold.

And really, they were the kind moments that will be frozen in time from the Gold Coast, which did just fine hosting the Games, for the record. It mostly ran like clockwork and as per tradition, some African athletes simply ran, still to be located.

Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project perform.
Yothu Yindi and the Treaty Project perform.

Photo: AP

This was sport, after all, and sport that mattered, so for every celebration there was an equivalent heartache. English cyclist Melissa Lowther was to compete in the time trial, only to find officials had not entered her in the race.

And on the final day, the harrowing vision of Scottish marathon runner Callum Hawkins collapsing just two kilometres from the finish was difficult and confronting. With medicos slow to reach him, he melted into the hot bitumen, unable to rise. Some fans reportedly stood and took photos of his plight.

Yet overwhelmingly it was good and wholesome and exactly what we needed as a sporting nation that had so recently stood accused of disappearing up our own backsides in the relentless pursuit of victory at any cost.

Guy Sebastian croons for the Gold Coast crowd.
Guy Sebastian croons for the Gold Coast crowd.

Photo: AAP

The closing ceremony continued the themes of reconciliation and connection to the indigenous past that seemed to scare jittery middle class white people when the Games opened. The lack of footage of athletes entering the stadium, especially Fearnley with the flag, went down poorly with viewers, as did the musical line-up. But hey, you want it on budget, you don’t get AC/DC.

A long way from Burleigh Heads, 2020 host city Birmingham wants its Games to revolve around an old city with a young, vibrant population. Rapper Lady Sanity provided part of the soundtrack, although not everything needed to be so new and fresh; Jeff Lynne’s ELO would contribute Mr Blue Sky to a scene.

The city also has Black Sabbath and Duran Duran up their sleeve to open their Games in four years. Over to you, Brummies. We expect big things.

Prince Edward speaks  on stage as the Games came to a formal end.
Prince Edward speaks on stage as the Games came to a formal end.

Photo: AAP

Source :  The Brisbane Times

Brisbane swelters as mercury climbs three degrees above average

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By Toby Crockford

Brisbane’s top temperature was three degrees above the average for April on Sunday, with the mercury hovering at 30 degrees – two degrees hotter than the maximum a day before.

The river city was expected to reach a top of 32 on Sunday and come close to recording its warmest April day in 19 years, with the record sitting at 33.7 degrees in 2006.

It was certainly good beach weather on Sunday, with the mercury climbing to 30 degrees just after midday.
It was certainly good beach weather on Sunday, with the mercury climbing to 30 degrees just after midday.

Photo: AAP – Kelly Barnes

Brisbane was on-track to challenge the April heat record just before midday when the temperature climbed to 30 degrees.

BoM meteorologist Lauren Pattie said the mercury was expected to rise by several degrees throughout Sunday afternoon and expected Brisbane to come close to breaking the record.

However, the heat wasn’t as intense as predicted, with the river city only reaching a maximum of 30.4 degrees just after midday, so the record remained intact.

Ms Pattie said two high-pressure systems and dry north-north-westerly winds were responsible for the top temperature being two degrees higher compared to Saturday.

She said sea breezes had helped cool conditions on Saturday when the mercury reached 28, but similar winds were not expected on Sunday.

Looking ahead, the Queensland’s capital was forecast to reach 32 degrees on Monday and 30 degrees on Tuesday, before dropping to tops in the high 20s for the rest of the week as an inland trough moved closer to the coast.

Brisbane’s average maximum temperature for April was 27.1 and top temperatures so far this month were already about a degree higher than usual.


Source :  The Brisbane Times

Saudi King rejects US plan to transfer embassy to Jerusalem

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Saudi Gazette report
DAMMAM — Addressing the 29th Arab League summit in Dhahran on Sunday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman reiterated that the Palestinian cause will remain the core Arab issue until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights, foremost of which is the establishment of an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We reaffirm our rejection of the US administration’s decision on Jerusalem,” the King said, adding, “We commend the international consensus that rejects it. We emphasize that East Jerusalem is an inalienable part of the Palestinian land.”

On Iran interference in the region, King Salman said, “We welcome the statement by the Security Council which strongly condemned the launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles by the Houthi terrorist militias towards Saudi cities.

“In this regard, we reiterate our strong condemnation of the terrorist acts carried out by Iran in the Arab region and reject its blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Arab countries.”

The King said: “The most dangerous of what our world is facing today is the challenge of terrorism, which has allied itself with extremism and sectarianism to produce internal conflicts infused by many Arab countries.”
Source : Saudi Gazette

Schools closed in Dammam as Arab summit opens today

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Saudi Gazette

DAMMAM — All educational institutions have been declared close on Sunday for the 29th Arab League summit that opens in Dhahran on Sunday.

Several roads and streets in Al-Khobar, Dhahran and Dammam have also been closed. The traffic department has issued advisory defining routes and approaches that will be closed to general public on Sunday.

Heads of States and dignitaries from Arab League participating countries started arriving on Saturday. They included Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President Mohammed Fuad Masum of Iraq, Yemen’s President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine, Tunisian President Béji Caid Essebsi, Oman’s Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers Fahd Bin Mahmoud Al-Said, Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, Head of the Libyan National Reconciliation Government Fayez Mustafa Al-Sarraj, President of Comoros Azali Assoumani, Algerian People’s National Assembly Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah, President Michel Aoun of Lebanon, and Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.


They were received at King Abdulaziz Air Base in Dhahran by Emir of the Eastern Province Prince Saud Bin Naif and Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary general of the Arab League.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has already arrived in the Eastern Province to chair the summit.

All five-star hotels in Dammam and Al-Khobar reported near 100% occupancy.

Saudi Armed Forces on Saturday rehearsed guard of honor and national anthems of participating countries at King Abdul Aziz Air base in Dhahran.

Flags of the Arab League, Saudi Arabia and other participating countries have been placed along several routes in Dammam and Al-Khobar. Heavy security is in place at several vital points and in the vicinity of the venue.

A state-of-the-art media center has also been set up in Al-Khobar where a giant screen has been installed to telecast live the proceedings of the summit from the venue.

A large contingent of media persons from across the world will be covering the event.

The summit holds paramount importance in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to move US embassy to Jerusalem. However, Iranian intervention in the Arab World especially in Yemen and Syria will dominate the proceedings of the summit.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir has already clarified that the Qatar issue is a Gulf matter and will not be discussed in the summit.


Source :  Saudi Gazette

600 journalists to cover Arab Summit

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Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH – Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad made on Saturday an inspection tour of the media center at the Mercure Hotel in Dhahran to check the preparations made by the ministry to cover the 29th Arab Summit which will be held on Sunday.

As many as 600 journalists, including 423 from outside the Kingdom, representing leading international news agencies, print and electronic media, including those from the Arab and Islamic have arrived to report the event.

The minister was briefed on the functioning of the center, managed by 25 young Saudis who are making available all the required services and facilities for the media guests.

Al-Awwad examined the map of interactive summit statistics showing the number of media persons who arrived to cover the summit from all over the world.

He was also briefed on the measures taken to ensure accommodation for the media guests.

At least 450 media persons have been given accommodation. The minister inspected the technical facilities of Saudi Television to air the event in coordination with the Arab States Broadcasting Union.

The minister visited the venue of the summit at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) where he inspected the media center and the preparations made to hold the press conference at the end of the summit.

He also visited the conference hall to ascertain the technical facilities for the live transmission of the event.

Awwad urged all the ministry staff to exert utmost efforts to serve the media persons coming to cover the summit and welcomed all foreign journalists.


Source :  Saudi Gazette

Tokyo hopes to become innovation hub, challenge Japanese conformism

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By Junko Horiuchi

Tokyo is vying to become an innovation hub for entrepreneurs and investors, challenging Japan’s reputation as an environment that fails to nurture entrepreneurship, with a new nonprofit organization hoping to play a lead role.

The recently launched Venture Cafe Tokyo aims to help innovators break away from a culture that stresses conformity and fears failure, by bringing them together with potential investors in the city’s business district of Toranomon.

“Ideas, talent, money are a simple recipe for innovation. I want to organize programs and events so that those elements mix and circulate smoothly, like innovation dating,” Yasuhiro Yamakawa, representative director of Venture Cafe Tokyo and entrepreneurship associate professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, told over 300 people at an outdoor opening event at Toranomon Hills.

The Venture Cafe program has been developed by Cambridge Innovation Center, a leading builder of innovation hubs that has set up such networking “ecosystems” in five cities in the United States and Europe, with the first Asian office opening on March 22 in Toranomon.

Yamakawa says entrepreneurs and investors should look for a type of “serendipitous collision” of ideas.

The initiative hopes to boost innovation in Japan, a country known for one of the lowest levels of entrepreneurship in the developed world, with its rate of early-stage entrepreneurial activity not higher than 5.4 percent for the last 14 years, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which analyzes data of more than 100 economies.

GEM also said Japan’s venture capital industry remains small, with investments making up a far smaller share of GDP than in other developed countries, such as Canada, the United States and Britain.

“To a large extent, low entrepreneurial rates can be attributed to a culture that stresses conformity and is highly critical of failure,” the GEM said in its report on Japan.

Many Japanese people see not following the usual path of earning a salary at a company as too risky, according to Yoshiaki Ishii, director in the business policy office at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Ishii also said that Japanese families often discourage entrepreneurship. “There are obstacles by parents and spouses when one decides to work at a venture company or small-sized company,” Ishii said.

“From a young age, Japanese people tend to see making a new challenge as something distant. So we need to get more people to be familiar with entrepreneurships,” he said.

Yamakawa said that Venture Cafe Tokyo’s weekly “Thursday Gathering” will be a place where anybody interested in starting a business can join in a casual atmosphere, to meet people or participate in seminars, coaching, workshops and themed events.

“We hope to attract hundreds of people every Thursday who are looking for partners or for ideas in a relaxed manner. Prior reservation is not needed,” Yamakawa said.

Sachiko Wada, 42, CEO of a successful startup Taskaji Inc., a housekeeping sharing service, also hopes Venture Cafe will help drive change.

“When it comes to entrepreneurship, I think many people don’t know what to do. So Venture Cafe can be useful for getting tips and in sharing information, especially for big companies whose human networks tend to be limited,” said Wada, who worked as a system engineer for 14 years at Fujitsu Ltd. before launching Taskaji in 2013.

“A lot of people think launching a startup means taking tremendous risks and that those are for people with a strong mentality who can bear such pressure, but that is not the case,” said Wada.

“I wasn’t a great risk taker and invested no more than 2 million yen ($18,700). I just wanted to solve an issue in front me, I was a full-time working mother and needed help with housekeeping,” Wada said.

Her Taskaji service, offered mainly in Tokyo and Osaka in western Japan, now has 28,000 registered users looking for help with housekeeping while 900 are available as helpers.

Taro Kodama, who previously worked for Yahoo Japan Corp. and Facebook Inc. and now serves as CEO of Anchorstar Inc, which helps businesses expand in the Japanese market, also hopes that Japanese people will be more open about their ideas.

“Japanese people often are conscious of ‘Japan quality’ and are reluctant about getting feedback on products that have yet been completed. Whereas overseas, people are good at making improvements on their products which have not been finished,” Kodama said.

“I hope people will change their mindsets and share their ideas, even if it is still at a stage of just being an idea or a prototype,” he said, adding that Venture Cafe’s casual atmosphere could be one way to help them.


Source :  Japan Today

Gov’t to study measures to mitigate impact of 2019 sales tax hike

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The government will examine steps to soften the impact of a consumption tax hike next year after the previous round dampened consumption, the top government spokesman said.

By launching a task force involving officials from relevant ministries on Friday, the government is expected to study how to control economic fluctuations, particularly in consumption as Japan braces for the tax hike from the current 8 percent to 10 percent in 2019.

“In view of what we experienced when the consumption tax rate was raised in 2014, we will learn from examples in Europe and examine specific steps to control economic fluctuations…so that changes in demand can level off,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Japan saw a last-minute surge in demand ahead of the 2014 tax hike but consumption took a hit afterwards. The economy is now in its second-longest postwar expansion cycle with the help of a pickup in private consumption, a key component of gross domestic product.

The government plans to allocate part of the revenue from the tax increase to realize Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policy program to expand child care support and free education.

Private-sector members of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy proposed that the government should include ways to limit the adverse impact on spending in a state budget for the fiscal year starting April 2019.


Source :  Japan Today

Tokyo Disneyland celebrates 35th anniversary

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Tokyo Disneyland marked its 35th anniversary Sunday with the reopening of renovated popular attraction “It’s a Small World.”

The operator, Oriental Land Co, held a ceremony with Mickey Mouse and his Disney friends at the theme park, which first opened to the public on April 15, 1983.

“We would like to create the next Disneyland with everyone for a new dream,” Toshio Kagami, chairman of Oriental Land, said at the ceremony.

The park plans to run special anniversary event “Tokyo Disney Resort 35th ‘Happiest Celebration!'” through March 25 next year with the new parade “Dreaming Up!” to celebrate the anniversary.

Oriental Land also plans to open a new area inspired by the “Beauty and the Beast” film by 2020.

Ryoichi Miyauchi, operating officer in charge of corporate planning, told reporters the company is considering expanding one of the two parks.

“Whenever I come here, I feel like I’m spellbound. I hope (the park) will keep creating new pleasures,” said Yu Kuroki, 34, who visited the park with her family.

Tokyo Disneyland and its adjacent Tokyo Disney Sea, which opened in 2001, had attracted a combined 720 million customers as of the end of March.


Source :  Japan Today
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