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Category: ‘Events’

Xbox & Bethesda Games E3 2021 Showcase

Sunday, June 13, Xbox gave gaming fans a closer look at the next era of gaming. During this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase pulled the curtain back on thirty titles, 27 of which will be included with Xbox Game Pass.

Announcements included a promise of back-to-back monthly releases coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one, led by a record five new titles from Xbox Game Studios this holiday, including Halo Infinite. Other games available this holiday include Forza Horizon 5 and Battlefield 2042, with titles like StarfieldRedfall, and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 launching next year.

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The Winners of the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards

SEVILLE, SPAIN, May 6, 2021 – The Winners of the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards have been unveiled at a digital Awards Ceremony in Seville. Among the highlights were a FOURTH Laureus Award for Rafael Nadal and SECOND Laureus Awards for Naomi Osaka and the Bayern Munich football team. 

As well as recognising the greatest sporting performances in 2020, despite the disruption of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a new Award which acknowledged the wider impact on society made by athletes:  Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton was named the inaugural Winner of the Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award for his involvement in the fight against racism. 

And Liverpool and Egyptian football star Mo Salah was honoured with the Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award to mark his unique contribution over many years to those in need and for those less fortunate. The Laureus Awards event was staged in a new digital format rather than as its usual Awards Ceremony because of continuing uncertainty over travel and social contact. In line with the focus of Laureus on Sport for Good, the 2021 Awards told the inspirational stories of people who worked tirelessly to combat the pandemic, and highlighted the advocacy of sportsmen and sportswomen who have used their positions of influence to make a powerful impact on issues and conflicts which go beyond sport.

Tennis scooped the top two individual prizes with Spain’s Rafael Nadal winning the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award after his 13th French Open win which brought him level on 20 career Grand Slams with Roger Federer, and Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open for the second time, taking the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award. Osaka made a powerful statement at Flushing Meadows in support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign by wearing different face masks in her matches, featuring the names of African Americans who died in recent years.

Nadal, who won the 2006 Breakthrough Award, the 2011 Sportsman Award and the 2014 Comeback Award, said: “I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart to the Laureus Academy. I have had some amazing competitors: the rest of the sportsmen probably deserve the trophy the same as me, but this was the year for me and I can’t be happier.

“Winning the French Open and equalling the 20th Grand Slam of Roger Federer has been an unforgettable moment. It means a lot to equal my great rival, but at the same time, my great friend. It’s something very special after all the history we have had together on and off court.”

“The pandemic that we are facing is something unprecedented and I want to send a message of support to all the families that have suffered or lost somebody.”

  While Osaka, winner of the Laureus Breakthrough Award in 2019, said: “I’ve watched so many of my role models win this [Sportswoman] Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it. I am so happy to receive it; it really means a lot to me. 

“Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it. Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”

Bayern Munich, winners of the UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal treble under new coach Hansi Flick, won the Laureus World Team of the Year Award. The last time was in 2014. Bayern became the first team to win the Champions League with a 100% record. Among their victims were the once mighty FC Barcelona whom they beat 8-2. 

As well as being one of the most phenomenal goalscorers in football, Mo Salah has proved himself to be a massive supporter of countless causes, including many from his home town of Nagrig in Egypt. He is a powerful advocate of women’s equality in the Middle East and has been named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. 

Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award recipient, Mo Salah, said: “I’m very proud to have been chosen by the Laureus Academy for this Sporting Inspiration Award. 2020 was a very difficult year, on so many levels and for so many people around the world. Some of us were kept away from our family and friends, and others even lost loved ones. We need to learn from this experience, support one another, and do our best to look ahead. 

“Many times, football players win Awards and automatically thank our fans. This time, I will dedicate this Award not only to our fans but to all the other sports fans around the world. This past year has been a very harsh reminder of the fact that sport, including football, is nothing without fans. Everyone in the world of sport can be replaced, fans can not. I will end on that note. Once again, thank you very much.”

Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot was one of the most emotional winners of the night. He received the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after fighting back from cancer to win X-Games gold medals. 

Patrick Mahomes took the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award after leading Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 to their first Super Bowl appearance and win in 50 years, at just 24. Away from the field, the Chief’s No.15 supports 15 community children’s projects with his foundation ‘15 and the Mahomies’. He was also at the front of an NFL athletes’ pressure group that petitioned the league to examine its behaviour and attitudes around racism and political protest.

The new Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award was presented to Britain’s record-equalling seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton for his firm and outspoken support for racial justice, wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ race helmet and black race suit and taking a knee at each Grand Prix. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas cars were painted in black livery as a statement of the team’s commitment to diversity.

Hamilton, a double Laureus winner with the Breakthrough Award in 2008 and the Sportsman of the Year Award last year, shared with Lionel Messi, said: “A huge thank you to the Laureus World Sports Academy for presenting me with this incredible Award. This past year has been incredibly difficult for so many, but it has also been heartening to see the power of our collective voices spark new conversations and change. The impact of each and every one of you who have stood up, is so inspiring, so I want to thank you. Please keep fighting, keep shining your light. 

“The global rising to address the longstanding issue of systemic racism and inequality in our society has been monumental, but we must continue to fight. We must all see ourselves as responsible for making positive change in our world, and hold ourselves accountable, so that the promises of last year turn in to action. I truly believe that together, we will get there, and so I stand with you as we push forwards. I’m sending you all love and positivity, stay safe. Thank you.”

Tennis giant Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam titles and has been a lifelong advocate for gender equality and a pioneer for equality and social justice, has been honoured with the Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association and Women’s Sports Foundation.

The German sports-based community programme KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR, which uses football to build bridges between cultures, particularly in areas with a high proportion of refugees, won the Laureus Sport for Good Award. The programme focuses on non-violence, human rights, gender equality and diversity. Laureus Sport for Good supports more than 250 community sports programmes in over 40 countries around the world. 

Inspirational Chris Nikic, who became the first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete a full Ironman, received the most votes in the global Laureus Sporting Moment Award public vote. Nikic, 21, from Maitland Florida, made history, completing the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile marathon run in Kona in November. “You can do things you never thought possible,” said Chris. The Award celebrates fair play, sportsmanship, dedication or overcoming adversity. It recognises a unique, emotional moment or story that touches the hearts of millions and inspires people worldwide.

The 2021 Awards Show also marked the launch of Everyone Wins, a new global campaign to promote sport for good. The campaign will shine a light on young people facing some of the world’s toughest opponents on and off playing fields around the world, celebrating how the power of sport helps them overcome opponents like disadvantage, inequality, violence, racism and sexism to make our world a better place. Because every time sport defeats these opponents: Everyone Wins.                                    

Sean Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the Laureus World Sports Academy, said: “I’m delighted that despite a challenging year, we have been able to honour so many great sportsmen and women. The Winners, but also the Nominees who didn’t quite make it, are the people who have reminded us how inspiring and motivational sport can be once it returned after lockdown. The Awards Show kicks off an important new phase for Laureus with the launch of Everyone Wins, a global campaign which will help transform public awareness and understanding of Laureus and drive donations to Sport for Good.”  

The winners of Laureus World Sports Awards are selected by the ultimate sports jury – the Members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the greatest athletes of today. 

Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz, IWC Schaffhausen and MUFG.

The full list of Winners are: 

Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award: Rafael Nadal 

Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award: Naomi Osaka

Laureus World Team of the Year Award: Bayern Munich

Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year Award: Patrick Mahomes

Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award: Max Parrot

Laureus Sport for Good Award: KICKFORMORE by KICKFAIR

Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award: Billie Jean King

Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year Award: Lewis Hamilton

Laureus Sporting Inspiration Award: Mohamed Salah

Laureus Sporting Moment of the Year Award: Chris Nikic 

Click here for full biographies of the Winners and list of Nominees.

International ‘Xposure’ Photography Exhibition Opens In UAE As Mass Vaccination Allows Events To Re-Start

With nearly half of its population vaccinated and strict testing regimes for tourists, the UAE is one of the first to emerge from the Coronavirus crisis. Restaurants, cafes and public spaces are open and now cultural events have restarted with the opening of the 5th edition of the International ‘Xposure’ photography festival.  The event features 1588 photographs taken by more than 400 photographers in 54 different exhibits. 36 different photography workshops are being held to highlight the latest know-how of photography techniques. The event will also feature 21 different interactive panel discussions involving some of the world’s leading photographers.

Despite high vaccination rates many special measures are being taken by the event organizers to ensure the safety of participants and the thousands of expected visitors. PCR test results must be shown, temperature testing is carried out and enhanced ventilation and disinfecting of the air supply.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Media Council, stressed that the health measures were vital and because of the progress now made ‘’life must go on, we cannot stop forever.  The festival aims to give voice to the photographers who have been on the frontline of the pandemic or those still battling to highlight important global humanitarian, environmental and gender issues despite the restrictions on movement and communication.

UAE based Indian photographer Ashok Verma praised government efforts to provide a safe environment so that the event could go ahead.

Brent Stirton, who has been published by National Geographic Magazine, GEO, Le Figaro, Le Monde, Vanity Fair, Newsweek, Time, The New York Times Magazine, The UK Sunday Times Magazine and many others, reflected during the opening ceremony, on the 10 months he spent last year, chronicling the illegal meat trade: “Every year an excess of 40 million kilograms of wild meat is brought into Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This is where zoonotic diseases come from… This is why we are wearing masks today. We need to create stricter laws against the sale of illegal wild species for human consumption.”

Funding for wildlife and environmental conversation efforts has been badly affected since the outbreak of COVID-19, “These are the side-effects of the pandemic” says Izzy Sasada, representing the work of Aaron Gekoski and Four Corners. The project focuses on human-animal conflict in their exhibit about wildlife tourism and the exotic pet trade. Izzy stressed that travel restrictions have made it very difficult for photojournalist to travel and work and the downside of the slump in tourism has most probably worsened the poor conditions in which many animals were already.

Giles Duley is a documentary photographer and writer who is triple-amputee after he was injured by an IED while working in Afghanistan in 2011. Duley knows well what isolation and overcoming difficulties really means. During this last visit in DRC he saw the effect of the pandemic regarding the lack of international donations. The lack of funding is leading to starvation and in the last orphanage he visited the children were eating only one meal a day. He hopes that the COVID-19 battle will make society more resilient and that 2021 can be a positive turning point of our generation.

Sheikh Sultan, who is ultimately responsible for Xposure reflected that the crisis had prompted us to ‘’focus on the things you have and not on the things you don’t.”

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World’s Largest New Year Fireworks Display 2021

Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve fireworks to feature one of the world’s largest pyrotechnics performances to welcome 2021

1st January 2021, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates – Ras Al Khaimah, in the United Arab Emirates, was one location that was still able to celebrate New Year’s Eve with its annual fireworks display. The 10  minute event, one of the largest pyrotechnic performances in the world, included fireworks rising above the sea near Al Marjan Island over a 4km stretch of water. The display was synchronised with special musical arrangements.

With a focus on ensuring public safety in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, this year there were no public activities or viewing areas. Only a limited number of guests at surrounding resorts were able to view the event live while adhering to social distancing protocols. In light of this, special focus was made to allow viewing on a number of social media channels and via broadcasters around the world.

This year, in contrast to previous events, the entire display was set on the water, with over 80 barges being used to launch shells up to 300mm in diameter. French based Groupe F, set over 15,000 pyrotechnics sourced from Spain, Italy and China.

Special emphasis was placed on both the variety and choreography of this year’s display, with the show specially timed to seven music tracks. Initiated with a countdown of fireworks in the sky, the performance began with a wave of red flares and gold meteors that continued throughout the show and went on to include cascades of golden dunes and golden oases as well as 3D waves . The show culminated in a crescendo of pink Kamuro waterfalls that illuminated the entire bay formed by Marjan Island.

The precautionary measures this year aimed to ensure the wellness and safety of all visitors, staff and the Ras Al Khaimah community, while underlining the Emirate’s distinction as the GCC Capital of Tourism 2021.

Ras Al Khaimah New Year’s Eve fireworks currently holds five GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles, including the ‘Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for Launching Fireworks Simultaneously’ and the ‘Longest Fireworks Waterfall’.

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Microsoft Celebrates the Global Launch of Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

On Tuesday, November 10, players around the world can jump into the next generation of gaming with the release of the all-new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles.

Microsoft is inviting Xbox fans from around the world to celebrate, connect and play together for the launch of the new consoles with an official livestream and events from across the globe.

100 Incredible New Student Ideas Unveiled To Change The World

Virtual exhibition showcases best social impact projects by the next generation of graduate inventors

100 of the most promising ideas to improve the environmental, social & economic well-being of people all around the world are revealed today at this year’s Global Grad Show.

The ideas are from students at universities in 42 countries and reveal how the next generation of designers, innovators and entrepreneurs would solve many of the key issues facing the planet today.

The 100 projects have been selected from 1600 original submissions from 270 universities. This year for the first time, the chosen projects have been organized around five key emerging trends: Living with Illness & Disability; Coping in a Complex World; Saving Lives in Danger; Cleaning a Waste Filled Planet; and Sustaining the Urban Experience.

All the 100 projects are being brought to life in a virtual exhibition allowing anyone from around the world to view the prototypes, films and original research material. They can all be viewed from Monday 9th November at  https://www.globalgradshow.com/

Further Information

The 2020 Global Grad Show participants will be invited to apply to the organisation’s Entrepreneurship Programme. This Programme aims to accelerate the development of innovations through tailored business training, mentorship and by providing introductions to investors to help the students launch their products to market. This programme has so far supported 30 projects from previous years, in fields ranging from medical to waste management, mental health to migrating communities.

This year’s will also see the launch of a specific show to support regional talent in the MENA region. The programme, which received more than 200 submissions from 35 universities based on the Middle East and North Africa will inaugurate a physical exhibition focusing on talent from the region, as part of Dubai Design Week.

The Global Grad Show is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and member of the Dubai Council and in partnership with A.R.M. Holding and Dubai Culture.

 

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