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Posts tagged as Middle East

We’re all listening: the rise of UAE Podcast culture

Hebah Fisher creator of Kerning Cultures, a podcast that shares stories of culture, history and current affairs, says: “They can leverage themselves as industry experts, whilst building an audience of fans and gaining further exposure.
They are also finding new ways to monetise podcasts through affiliate marketing and sponsors and advertising which brings in a new stream of revenue.On the production side, podcasting is becoming far easier.It used to require a sound-proof studio, expensive microphones, and a mixer for recording. Now all you need is a good concept or idea, your commitment, and a few bits of equipment.
Rushdi, for example, kicked off his podcast after realising the need to represent the home-grown talent in the region and give them a platform to speak. He says “we wanted to showcase the people, characters, skills and everything that exists within this region itself which seemed to be overshadowed by internationally produced podcasts.”

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Culture: Qatar’s US$434m desert rose museum finally blooms

ALMOST a decade in the making, three years late and at an estimated cost of US$434 million (RM1.77 billion), Qatar’s vast national museum, built in the shape of a desert rose, opens this week.A glittering ceremony, expected to include Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim Hamad al-Thani, Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, takes place tomorrow, with the doors opening to the public the next day.“Architecture to give a voice to heritage whilst celebrating (the) future,” tweeted the museum’s renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, also responsible for the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The pale, futuristic 52,000-sq m structure located on Doha’s waterfront corniche will be the first notable building visitors to Qatar see as they make their way from the airport to the city centre.Even in a country which is being built, rebuilt and utterly transformed for the 2022 football World Cup, the national museum could be the single most eye-catching design of all Qatar’s new buildings.

The entrance includes 114 fountain sculptures in a 900m-long lagoon and the museum’s multi-curved roof, which resembles a giant jigsaw puzzle, is made up of 76,000 panels in 3,600 different shapes and sizes.Inside, there is more than 1,500m of gallery space.Among the exhibits is a 19th century carpet embroidered with 1.5 million Gulf pearls and the oldest Quran yet discovered in Qatar, also dating back to the 1800s.

“This is a museum that narrates the story of the people of Qatar,” Sheikha Amna Abdulaziz Jassim al-Thani, the museum’s director, has stated.The National Museum of Qatar also stands on the site of the former palace of Sheikh Abdullah Jassim al-Thani — son of the founder of modern Qatar.
The palace has been restored as part of the massive project.The museum, which officials say celebrates Qatar’s Bedouin past and energy-rich present, also reflects the country’s massive wealth and ambition. ‘Post-blockade identity’And as well as an architectural and cultural statement, the new museum is also a political one by the Qataris.It is among a growing list of spectacular buildings in Qatar, including the recently opened national library and Museum of Islamic Art further along the corniche.
The national museum is also the latest in the cultural “arms race” and soft power course among Gulf nations, which includes Nouvel’s Louvre in Abu Dhabi opened to huge fanfare in 2017, designed to show-off the progressive aspects of the various competing emirate states.And for Qatar, the museum’s delayed opening — originally scheduled for 2016 — has given it a chance to reinforce its national identity from other Gulf states, say experts.Since June 2017, Qatar has been diplomatically and economically blockaded by neighbouring former allies, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, accused among other things of supporting terrorism. Qatar rejects all charges and says the blockade is an attack on its sovereignty.The bitter dispute has fractured long-standing Gulf alliances and the new museum will allow Qatar to reinforce its separateness from its rivals, says Sigurd Neubauer, a Middle East analyst based in Washington.

“On the basic level the museum represents Qatari identity which has really accelerated in the post-blockade environment,” he said.At the same time as the reputation of Doha’s rivals appear “inward-looking and regressive”, because of incidents like the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Qatar’s standing is the “opposite”, adds Neubauer.“It’s really not about the building, Qatar is trying to create an environment and national identity that provides a space towards independent thinking.“It is doubling down on its own progressive reforms.”

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Chinese shares slip over Fed dovish stance at next meet

Chinese shares edged lower on Tuesday as investors took profits after major stock indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs in the previous session, but the downside was limited by the expectation that the U.S.
Image Credit: Pixabay investors took profits after major stock indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs in the previous session, but the downside was limited by the expectation that the U.S. Federal Reserve would take a dovish stance at its meeting this week.At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.22 per cent at 3,089.50. China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was down 0.37 per cent. Both indexes closed near 6-1/2 month highs on Monday.
Hong Kong fell 0.46 per cent to 11,620.81, while the Hang Seng Index was down 0.25 per cent at 29,334.61. The smaller Shenzhen index was unchanged for the day and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.12 per cent. Investors are looking to the Fed policy meeting to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.
In contrast to broader market declines, nuclear power-related stocks surged after environmental impact assessments (EIA) for two nuclear power plant projects were submitted for approval to regulators on Monday, a vital stage in the resumption of China’s atomic energy programme after a three-year halt in new approvals. State-owned China National Nuclear Power jumped as much as 10 per cent to its highest since April 2018, before trimming gains.
It was last up 2.29 percent.Around the region, MSCI’s Asia ex-Japan stock index was weaker by 0.05 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei index was down 0.16 per cent. The yuan was quoted at 6.7162 per U.S.dollar, 0.04 per cent weaker than the previous close of 6.7135. The largest percentage gainers on the main Shanghai Composite index were Lanzhou LS Heavy Equipment Co Ltd, up 10.09 per cent, followed by Hunan Chen Dian International Development Co Ltd, gaining 10.04 per cent, and Beijing Teamsun Technology Co Ltd, up by 10.04 per cent.CGN Power Co LtdChina Gas Holdings Ltd, which has fallen 4.44 per cent, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd, which has lost 2.8 per cent, and Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, down by 2.6 per cent.In Hong Konggainer on the Hang Seng was Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd, up 5.27 per cent, while the biggest loser was Shenzhou International Group Holdings Ltd, which was down 2.65 per cent.

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