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Dubai scraps 30% alcohol tax and fees for personal alcohol licences

The UAE emirate of Dubai has announced that it has scrapped the 30% tax on alcohol, and will no longer charge for personal alcohol licences.

Known as the Gulf's "party capital", where expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one, Dubai has historically been more attractive to tourists and wealthy foreign workers than its neighbours, partially because of its tolerance of a more liberal lifestyle.

Despite this, the high alcohol tax had led to residents often driving to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.

patrickn97 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 10:33
Change of the guard at the UN Security Council

Japan on Sunday (1 January) assumed the Chairmanship of the United Nations Security Council for the month of January. This is the 12th time that Japan has chaired the Security Council, despite the fact that it is a non-permanent member. However, also on 1 January, Japan joined four other countries as non-permanent members of the Council for the next two years.

The other four new members are Ecuador, Malta, Mozambique and Switzerland.

dennis2020 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 08:27
Lula is back
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in as Brazil's president on Sunday, delivering a searing indictment of far-right former leader Jair Bolsonaro and vowing a drastic change of course to rescue a nation plagued by hunger, poverty and racism. In a speech to Congress after officially taking the reins of Latin America's biggest country, the leftist said democracy was the true winner of the October presidential vote, when he ousted Bolsonaro in the most fraught election for a generation. Bolsonaro, who left Brazil for the United States on Friday after refusing to concede defeat, rattled the cages of Brazil's young democracy with baseless claims of electoral weaknesses that birthed a violent movement of election deniers.
dennis2020 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 06:14
Sweden takes over rotating presidency of EU for the next six months
On 1 January 2023, Sweden took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Czechia. "Security, competitiveness, green and energy transitions, democratic values and the rule of law" are the priorities of the Presidency for the coming six months. During the first half of the year, Sweden will lead the work in the Council of the EU and represent all 27 Member States in negotiations with other EU institutions. The Swedish Presidency will chair approximately 2 000 meetings in Brussels and Luxembourg, and approximately 150 informal meetings will be held in locations throughout Sweden. “Sweden is taking over the Presidency at a time when the European Union is facing unprecedented challenges. A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on 14 December when he presented the priorities of the Swedish Presidency to the Riksdag
dennis2020 Mon, 01/02/2023 - 05:50
Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, dies aged 95

The 95-year-old Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away on Saturday at 9:34 AM in his residence at the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.

The Holy See Press Office announced that the Pope Emeritus died at 9:34 AM on Saturday morning in his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery, which the 95-year-old Pope emeritus had chosen as his residence after resigning from the Papacy in 2013.

dennis2020 Sat, 12/31/2022 - 11:43
Happy New Year 2023
The editorial team, research associates, staff and contributors of wish all our readers and subscribers across the world a very happy new year 2023. We hope the new year will bring peace and prosperity in the world, and friendship amongst people and nations.
dennis2020 Sat, 12/31/2022 - 11:35
Kazakhstan looks back at a difficult 2022, determined to pursue change and reform in 2023
For the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan, this year has probably been the most difficult one since its independence in 1991. Yet the country has emerged from it stronger. The process of reform initiated by President Kassym Jomart Tokayev appears to be gathering momentum, despite resistance from parts of the ruling elite still associated with the country’s first president Nursultan Nazarbayev. On Thursday, 29 December, Tokayev addressed the Kazakh Senate in the capital, Astana, where he summed up the year’s results. “This year, the country has been through a lot, but we managed to overcome all difficulties,” said the President. Tokayev paid particular attention to preserving stability and security, and paving the way for the dynamic development of the state is a priority for Kazakhstan. The reforms in all spheres will be continued into the following year. In early January Kazakhstan faced an unprecedented upheaval, initially triggered by price rises, but which soon got hijacked by elements close to the previous president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who were unhappy with the reforms being implemented, and most of all with the clampdown on corruption which had started to affect them. At this point Nazarbayev still held control over several leverages of power, including as Head of the Security Council and as President of the ruling party. The disturbances were contained but at considerable human and material costs.
dennis2020 Fri, 12/30/2022 - 07:07
Editor's choice
Ukraine under massive Russian attack

Ukraine under massive Russian attack

Cities across Ukraine have been targeted by a wave of Russian missile strikes, in one of the largest bombardments since the war began. At least three people - including a 14-year-old girl - were taken to hospital after explosions hit the capital Kyiv, Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko said. Blasts were also heard in the cities of Kharkiv, Odesa, Lviv and Zhytomyr. Ukraine's military said 69 missiles were launched, with air defences intercepting 54 of them. Earlier, presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said more than 120 missiles had been launched at civilian infrastructure. The air raid lasted for close to five hours and the regional leader of the southern province of Odesa, Maksym Marchenko, spoke of a "massive missile attack on Ukraine". The Ukrainian Air Force said Russia attacked the country from "various directions with air and sea-based cruise missiles". It added that a number of Kamikaze drones had also been used. As air raid alerts sounded in all regions of the country, presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych urged civilians to seek shelter and said the country's air defences were operating.
Editor's choice
Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

Opinion: 2022 - a year of high expectations tempered by dire realities

After the wave of diplomatic activities in late September – early October 2022, it seemed that the idea of signing a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of 2022 was more than a dream. However, November – December 2022 proved that pessimists were closer to reality. After Russia re-inserted itself in the negotiation process by organizing a new trilateral leaders' summit on October 31, 2022, and Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met in Washington on November 7, 2022; the peace process stalled. In the current situation, the external players involved in the negotiations and interested in preventing a resumption of hostilities should focus on preserving the fragile stability that emerged after September aggression by Azerbaijan. In this context, the resumption of the Brussels format of negotiations is of utmost importance. Otherwise, the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Armenia – Azerbaijan relations risk becoming another pawn in Russia – US confrontation, with negative implications for all sides.