FEATURE: Abu Dhabi counts cultural blessings at music, arts festival

FEATURE: Abu Dhabi counts cultural blessings at music, arts festivalAbu Dhabi/Istanbul  - For decades, Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Cairo were the Arab world's cultural centres. The Arab Gulf states, with their bubbling oil wells, man-made islands and glassy shopping malls, were considered a cultural desert.

But that is changing in a hurry now. Already world-class in high- rise buildings and artificial isles, Gulf Arabs want to join the international music and art elite as fast as possible, too.

Shoaib Akhtar needs to be 100% match-fit to be considered for UAE series: Selectors

Shoaib AkhtarKarachi, Apr. 1 : While Shoaib Akhtar may have declared himself fit for national duty, Pakistan team selectors have made it clear that he should be 100 percent match fit to be considered for the scheduled one day international series against Australia in the UAE.

According to a team official, all the players would have to clear the test to be able to qualify for the April 22-May 7 series. All eyes would be on controversial speedster Akhtar, who has declared himself fit.

The selectors and team management, however, are not convinced by Akhtar’s claims.

Two mild earthquakes hit the United Arab Emirates

Two mild earthquakes hit the United Arab Emirates Dubai - Two mild earthquakes measuring 2.9 and 3.5 on the Richter scale struck the United Arab Emirates Tuesday morning, an official source at the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology said.

The quakes centered in the Gulf of Oman and the northern area of Dibbah, seismologists said. Earthquakes of this magnitude rarely cause damage.

Despite global crisis, Dubai's pearl trade grows dramatically

Despite global crisis, Dubai's pearl trade grows dramatically Dubai  - Dubai's pearl trade rose dramatically last year despite the global economic crisis, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the Dubai Pearl Exchange.

The value of the loose pearl trade in the glitzy emirate grew from 22 million dirham (5.99 million dollars) in 2007 to over 95 million dirham during 2008, and experts believe it has more room to grow.

Dubai to appeal massive WTA fine

Shahar.Peer.Dubai, UAE - Dubai officials will make an official protest to the WTA after being slapped with a 300,000-dollar fine for the UAE visa exclusion of Israeli Shahar Peer at the Barclays Championships this month.

Owner Dubai Duty Free is also concerned over an unprecedented requirement that the event lay down a 2-million-dollar bond to make sure that the visa problem is not repeated in 2010.

Cricket condemns attack on Sri Lankan team

Sri-Lanka Cricket logoDubai, UAE - Cricket's world governing body Tuesday condemned the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Pakistan.

"We note with dismay and regret the events of this morning in Lahore and we condemn this attack without reservation," chief executive Haroon Lorgat of the Dubai-based International Cricket Council (ICC) said Tuesday.

"It is a source of great sadness that there have been a number of fatalities in this attack and it is also very upsetting for the wider cricket family that some of the Sri Lanka players and one match official have been injured in this attack.