Race to ready Dubai’s mega Expo despite one-year delay

first_imgArmies of workers in protective masks are racing to complete the mammoth Dubai Expo 2020 site despite the coronavirus that has sickened some employees, forced a one-year postponement, and created a logistical headache.The six-month world fair, a milestone for the emirate which has splashed out $8.2 billion on the eye-popping venue in the hope of boosting its soft power and resetting the economy, will now open its doors in October 2021.But organizers grappling with the complexities of rescheduling the event are intent on delivering the main buildings of the Expo by the original start date. They are keeping the Expo 2020 name and logo, which is emblazed on everything from billboards to aircraft.As well as the onset of the scorching Gulf summer, organizers have had to contend with coronavirus infections and layoffs among a large workforce recruited from across the world.”Of course, the impact of COVID-19 has affected the logistics and the processes of delivering some of the remaining works,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, chief development and delivery officer.But “work continues and some of the pavilions have actually reached a very final stage. 2020 is the year of delivery,” he told AFP during a rare visit to the site, which will be mothballed once the major work is done. Difficult decisions Once a tangle of concrete and dust, the 4.5 square kilometer venue has now risen from the deserts of Dubai. Many of the buildings’ main structures have been completed.The United Arab Emirates pavilion, built in the shape of a falcon in flight, is only a few feathers away from completion, while the adjacent Saudi Arabian pavilion is now a huge window opening up into the sky.Tunnels are open and streets have been paved. The sound system and 5G towers have been installed, and transplanted mango and olive trees are flourishing.Before the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai hoped the largest event ever staged in the Arab world — billed as the “World’s Greatest Show” — would attract some 25 million visitors.It will showcase dozens of pavilions among the 192 participating countries including Israel, despite the Jewish state having no diplomatic ties with the UAE.Since the first “World Expo” was held at London’s Crystal Palace in 1851, global fairs have been used to showcase new ideas and technology as well as serving as nation-branding exercises. With a lavish promotional campaign featuring superstars such as Lionel Messi, Dubai hopes the Expo will be a lifeline for the property, tourism and trade sectors, after years of malaise in the region which has now been aggravated by the global coronavirus-induced slowdown.Chief Engagement Officer Manal AlBayat said the postponement approved in May by the governing Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) had no impact on the “commitment to deliver an Expo that inspires the world”.But as the timeline stretches out, putting pressure on budgets, it has led to layoffs among staff that once thronged the air-conditioned temporary buildings on site.”Very sadly, a number of Expo employees will be leaving us. Of course, the decision was very difficult taken in [the] context of the postponement and it’s difficult because they’re members of the tribe,” said AlBayat, without specifying how many jobs were lost. Daily challenges On the vast Expo site south of the city, the pandemic creates daily challenges, as workers converse and share crane boxes, at a time when the UAE is still registering hundreds of new infections every day.AlBayat said that among the many precautionary measures are a testing facility built on site and awareness sessions held for workers.But like many workplaces in the region, infections have emerged.”We have had some positive cases with our workers as well as with our Expo staff,” she said, declining to say how many. “We ensure that if anyone has tested positive they do not come back until they have tested negative and have been approved by the health authorities to come back to work regardless of whether they are workers or Expo employees”.More than half of the coronavirus cases registered in the six Gulf countries — which now exceed 355,000 and rising — are among foreign workers, who often live in cramped conditions that do not allow for social distancing.Measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic forced Dubai — which attracted 16.7 million visitors last year — to close its doors in March. It is aiming to reopen ahead of the start of the tourist season in September, when the summer heat dissipates.”We believe that Dubai will come back to its number of visitors and we will work closely to achieve the best number of visitors for our Expo,” said Al Khatib when asked whether original goals would need to be revised.”One year of postponement means more… room for improvement,” he added optimistically. Topics :last_img read more

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IMCA RaceSaver Sprints chase $1,000 check at Budweiser Shootout

first_imgOSBORN, Mo. – IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Cars are in the running for a $1,000 top prize at US 36 Raceway’s Friday, June 8 Budweiser Shootout.The feature pays a minimum of $250 to start. Heat winners also earn another $200.Also on the card are Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods racing for $500 to win and a minimum of $70 to start.Both divisions are draw/redraw. IMCA Speedway Motors Weekly Racing National, Missouri State and track points will be awarded.Pit passes are $30; there is no entry fee. Spectator admission is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and military with ID, $8 for kids ages 7-12 and free for six and under.Pit gates open at 5 p.m., the grandstand opens at 6 p.m., hot laps are at 7:30 p.m. and racing follows.last_img read more

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Summer baseball league performances fare well for Trojans

first_imgJunior catcher/utility player Blake Sabol led the Chantham Anglers in batting average this past summer (.340). (Emily Smith | Daily Trojan)The USC baseball team is back on campus, and that means the return of the 14 incumbent players who participated summer ball. Here’s a recap of how they fared the last few months.Four Trojans earned All-Star or All-League honors in 2018. The standout was junior catcher/utility player Blake Sabol, a member of the East Division team for the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Sabol led the Chatham Anglers with a .340 batting average, good for fourth in the league. He also paced his team with seven home runs, which ranked second in the league and earned him a spot in its home run derby.“Sabol has this summer played everywhere on the diamond but pitcher, second base and shortstop,” wrote Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill in naming Sabol one of Cape Cod’s five rising star hitters in July. “Wherever Sabol plays this summer, he has produced at the plate.”Fellow junior Brady Shockey also impressed as a member of the Palm Springs Power of the Southern California Collegiate League. The outfielder led his team with a .384 batting average, to go with a .419 on base percentage and .535 slugging percentage. Shockey earned a spot on the 2018 All-SCCBL first team as one of three outfielders selected.Junior infielder John Thomas was selected to the California Collegiate League Prospect Game, as he placed fifth in the league in batting average at .341. He also posted a .439 on base percentage and a .514 slugging percentage.Junior Chris Clarke was the only USC pitcher to be honored in such a way; he was chosen as the starter for the South Division in the Ripken League All-Star Game. His 2.73 earned run average was a big part of his team-best 4-0 record, along with his 27 strikeouts in 31.1 innings.Although these were the only four honored by their leagues, they were not the only successful Trojans this summer. Sabol was joined in Chatham by two sophomores in pitcher Kyle Hurt and shortstop Ben Ramirez. Hurt posted a 3.38 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 26.2 innings, as well as notching a save for the Anglers in the playoffs. While Ramirez struggled at the plate for the most part, he tallied 14 RBI on 22 hits and six stolen bases.Junior closer Connor Lunn, also in the Cape Cod League, was impressive, with a 3-1 record, 2.28 ERA, and a miniscule .174 opponent’s batting average. Junior outfielder Matthew Acosta led the Green Bay Bullfrogs of the Northwoods League with a .588 slugging percentage and .980 OPS. He also held the second-highest batting average on the team at .338.Sophomore pitcher John Beller touted a team-best 0.48 ERA and a .127 opposing batting average. His 0.80 WHIP was good for second on his team, the Portland Pickles of the West Coast League. Beller was joined in Portland by redshirt sophomore catcher Daniel Edson (14 runs in 30 appearances) and sophomore pitcher Augie Sylk (44 strikeouts in 30.1 innings).Freshman utility player Bart West flashed a good eye in the California Collegiate League, leading the Conejo Oaks with 16 walks. He also posted a .273/.380/.352 line in 88 at bats for Conejo and placed second in the league in sacrifice flies with three.Sophomore pitcher Riley Lamb played for the New England Collegiate League champion Valley Blue Sox. He held hitters to a batting average of .217 and finished the season with a K/9 average of 9.17. He pitched one inning of relief in the team’s championship-clinching game against the Ocean State Waves.After a 26-28 season in 2018, the Trojans will feel the pressure to improve. Those who had successful summer ball stints will look to build on their progress; those who disappointed will have to address their weaknesses, heading into the 2019 season.last_img read more

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Three exclusive new events for Betting on Football 2018

first_img SBC’s Barcelona Summit to become digital-only event May 29, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Share Sam Cooke: ESI Digital Summit – “esports value is more than a pandemic anomaly” May 22, 2020 Related Articles Submit ESI announces first wave of speakers for Digital Summer esports event   August 7, 2020 Betting on Football 2018 will feature three exclusive new events targeting those involved in affiliate marketing, esports and football based sponsorship.To mark the fifth edition of the largest international football and betting trade conference, held at Stamford Bridge from 20-23 March, SBC Events will launch the Affiliate Insider Bootcamp, Esports Insider Super Forum and SBC Sponsorship Forum. The AI Bootcamp (21 March) is a set of sessions for delegates in the affiliate space, with content ranging from digital marketing hacks to the latest innovative technologies.Lee-Ann Johnstone, the Digital & Affiliate Marketing Jedi behind the AI Bootcamp launch, said: “The Affiliate Insider Bootcamp provides a mix of great networking, tangible insights and in-depth knowledge sharing that is generally unavailable at larger scale events. “Affiliates and Operators will come together to learn about digital disruption and how to harness this change within their own business to promote long term growth. This event provides intense learning and the ability to gain detailed commercial insight that will spearhead growth in any sports betting affiliate focussed business.”Featuring six panels and workshops comprising more than 30 esports experts, the ESI Super Forum has been confirmed for the second full day of #bofcon2018 (22 March).It has been designed to focus on the opportunities and challenges that exist within the worlds of traditional sports and esports, as the two become increasingly intertwined.Sam Cooke, Editor-in-Chief at Esports Insider, commented: “We’ve built on the success of the recent ESI Forum Series by focusing the ESI Super Forum on a key area which we feel has not been amply attended to in the esports conference space – that is the where traditional sports and esports meet.”The day two agenda will also include the invite-only SBC Sponsorship Forum, managed by former AC Milan Chief Commercial Officer Jaap Kalma, which looks to bring clubs and betting brands together to discuss opportunities in football.Kalma added: “Sponsorship is the main marketing expenditure for bookmakers, and betting has become the single largest sponsor category for football clubs. And things aren’t standing still; markets are being regulated, expenditures are growing, and the use of sponsorship has much evolved. “With such important shared interests, it is not surprising to hear there is a strong need for a dedicated forum where bookmakers and clubs can meet each other. To learn from best practice, to network with other experts, and to find business opportunities. The SBC Sponsorship Forum during Betting on Football has been organized for just that purpose.”The AI Bootcamp, ESI Super Forum and SBC Sponsorship Forum all double up as stand alone events and individual tracks as part of the wider Betting on Football conference agenda.The others five tracks are World Cup and beyond, Global Market Profiles, Leadership, Customer Journey and Betting on Innovation, a series of presentations by companies attempting to grow their business by bringing an innovative product to market.Don’t miss out on the current 25% Early Bird Discount on tickets for Betting on Football 2018 – Click HERE to get it!There are also still sponsorship and exhibition opportunities available – for enquiries about these please contact us on [email protected]last_img read more

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Clippers gaining confidence, momentum after consecutive victories

first_imgThe Clippers are done feeling sorry for themselves. They’ve gotten over the shock of losing so many players to so many injuries for so many games. They’ve dug in. They’ve started fighting back. They’ve won two in a row over teams well above them in the standings.“They had a talent advantage, so we had to have an energy advantage,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said after a gritty 96-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday, their last home game before beginning a four-game trip Wednesday against the Magic in Orlando.If their victories Monday over the Raptors and Saturday over the Washington Wizards had a common thread it was that they refused to quit. They scrapped out two wins by playing the aggressor, especially when the games were up for grabs in the closing minutes.“Doc told us before (Monday’s) game, ‘We’ve been dealt a (lousy) hand with injuries,’” Clippers forward Sam Dekker said. “Every night we feel like we have a new starting lineup or a new injury. He told us just to stay resilient and keep working hard and good things will happen.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error It’s a leap of faith, to be sure, but the injury-depleted Clippers have bought what Rivers is selling. They would appear to have adapted and adjusted to playing without injured starters Blake Griffin (sprained knee) and Patrick Beverley (season-ending knee surgery).Just as Milos Teodosic returned to the lineup from a 22-game absence because of a plantar fascia injury, the Clippers learned Danilo Gallinari suffered a glute contusion they said was unrelated to the glute strain that sidelined him for 13 games before an all-too-brief two-game return.Asked how he would approach the upcoming four-game trip, Rivers said, “One at a time.”It’s a cliche as old as dirt, but Rivers had an added reason for laying it on reporters Monday.“We don’t even know who’s going to play in each game,” Rivers said, referring to the fact that Monday’s starting lineup of forwards Wesley Johnson and Jamil Wilson, center DeAndre Jordan and guards Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic was his 10th different one in 25 games in 2017-18.center_img “We’re just kind of a piecemeal team right now.”Rivers has embraced the challenge, however.“It’s a fun team to coach right now,” he said. “It’s frustrating, too. I just love the energy. I love how our team is playing together as a group. Heart and hustle, that’s what you feel from this group. They play with both and you can win games that way, and that’s what we’re doing.”Next, the Clippers take their act on the road, starting Wednesday in Orlando. They also have a rematch Friday with the Wizards in Washington before facing the Heat for the second time this season Saturday at Miami and the Spurs for the second time Monday in San Antonio.The Clippers packed their bags with their usual gear, including their high tops, their basketballs and uniforms. They also took some newly instilled confidence and momentum in the wake of their victories over the Raptors and Wizards.“It’s the best way to do it, going on the road trip with two wins behind you gets the team feeling good,” guard Austin Rivers said.last_img read more

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