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We’ve Got Talent! Do You

We’ve Got Talent! Do You

Got Talent is one of the most popular TV series of the last several years, broadcasted on hundreds of channels around the world. It has captured the interest of all of those who are gifted with a talent—and even many that aren’t. The concept started in the UK by host Simon Cowell, although it was America’s Got Talent that cemented the show as an international platform for singers, dancers, musicians, magicians, comedians, and other performers of all ages.

In a recent move to bring the series closer to local audiences, MBC group has partnered with the Got Talent franchise in order to give the Arab world the chance to show off their talents to a wider public. Casting calls are being made in the month of March and are open to peoples of all ages and all backgrounds (provided they can speak Arabic).

In previous seasons of the Got Talent show, we have seen acts that have both horrified and amazed audiences, with judges screaming everything from rude obscenities to YES YOU CAN! Notable acts like Susan Boyle—who was mocked the moment she was on stage—broke all conventions after just a few seconds on stage, leaving the crowd’s eyes wide open and jaws dropped from her incredible voice. Maybe one of you out there can do the same…

During the first season of Arabs Got Talent, which will be aired on MBC4, the public can register online and will be chosen accordingly by talent and availabilities. From heartfelt performances to hilarious gags, we can’t wait to see who’s got talent in the Arab world!

Get on stage at

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Chinese Year of the Tiger

Chinese Year of the Tiger

It’s a sign of rebellion, passion, sincerity and humanitarianism. Those born in a Tiger year are thought to possess all of these traits, and as we start a new page in the Chinese Lunar Calendar—which officially begins on February 14th—it is indeed time for the Tiger.

There are several interpretations of the Legend of the 12 Animals, which gives rise to the correlation of the year with an animal. Some say that the creatures of Earth became quarrelsome many years ago, and the Chinese god Jade Emperor decided to give each creature a year of its own. A race was ordered to determine which animal had which year, and twelve animals were chosen to participate. Cunning and sly, the Rat won the race, followed by the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Goat, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and finally the Pig.

Others say that during the celebration of the Chinese New Year many years ago, Buddha called upon all the creatures of the land to bid him farewell before he departed the earth. To his disappointment, only 12 animals came forth. The first to arrive was the charming rat, who they say nimbly bounced off the Ox to beat him by a nose. The hard working and plodding Ox was close behind, followed by the charismatic Tiger and the rest of the animals. Buddha then declared that he would reward the animals by naming a year after each of them, and those born on that year would possess the qualities of the reigning animal.

Notable “Tigers” include American actress Marilyn Monroe, German musician Ludwig Van Beethoven, Queen Elizabeth II of England, and Hollywood star Leonardo diCaprio.

What is your sign?

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Online dating meets the scientific method

Online dating meets the scientific method

Many online matchmakers have made a fortune from the millions of digital users around the world. With high hopes, users tend to use such website to meet their significant other or their soul mates. Try as they might, many of these endeavors end unsuccessfully.

Online dating sites are now going to the extreme with their methodologies, using methods such as genetic testing or brain chemistry questionnaires that aim to let the users know more about their partner.

Companies such as have a fee of $2000 for life which uses a DNA sample from a person to test for compatibility with partners. Another website following the trace is The website develops a questionnaire by a biological anthropologist to match up registered users for only $50 per month.

It may sound silly, but the industry of online dating makes $976 million a year! Either online dating is actually working for some, or bachelors just have too much extra cash that don’t know where to spend it. With the insignificant fee that some website are requesting, it would be a lot less expensive than going out for dinner. Something to think about for the future…

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How to dine Japanese in a business setting

How to dine Japanese in a business setting

For those that have yet to travel to Japan for business, there are a couple of things you should know before booking your ticket and inviting clients out to eat. Japanese culture is centered on politeness, overall respect for people, age reverence, gracious apology for wrongdoing, and living in harmony.

Foreigners, when eating out in Japanese restaurants, need to understand the basics of the Japanese dining etiquette to avoid offending the Japanese by committing a dining blunder!

There are some essential basic rules to be mindful of when dining in a Japanese restaurant. First of all, when the food is served, join your hands in the “Namaste” gesture and say quietly, “Itadakimasu” the phrase translates as “I humbly receive.” The gesture is an expression of gratitude for the collective efforts made by many in growing and preparing the meal.

If you feel you need a bit of soy sauce for your meal, you should serve yourself by pouring a small amount into your soya dish. It is considered rude to directly pour the soy sauce on your meal. If you’re having sushi, dip the sushi in the soy dish and bring it to your mouth. Avoid pouring excessive amount of soy and hovering over your dish. When eating rice or soup, you are allowed to bring the entire bowl closer to your mouth so that you don’t spill any food. In addition, it is considered rude to burp at the table unlike in some other Asian cultures like Chinese or Korean, where it can be received as a sign of satisfaction.

As for the chopsticks, never put your chopsticks in a bowl of rice because it resembles the burning of incense sticks at a Japanese funeral. Instead, lay your chopsticks on the chopsticks holder or at the edge of your individual plate.

At the dining table, do not pour yourself a drink but rather serve others at the table. Another thoughtful person should pour your drink for you when you are finished serving.

At the end of the meal, thank the chef by saying “Gochisosama deshita!” Thank you for this great meal!

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Arab Business Leaders

Arab Business Leaders

Arab Business Leaders

Within this monthly forum, O2 takes a look at some of the most influential Arab business leaders shaping today’s markets. These individuals have achieved incredible success while advancing best practices in their respective industries. If you know someone who you think fits this description, let us know at

Lubna Olayan

She is one of the most influential business women and was listed as the top 100 most influenmtial people of 2005 by Time magazine. Ms. Olayan was born on August the 4th, 1955, to a Saudi business man, Suliman Olayan, and mother Maryam Abdulwahab, and has many significant achievements in the world of business.

Ms. Lubna Olayan is the chief executive officer of the Olayan Financing Company (OFC). The company was founded in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1947 by her father Suliman Olayan. OFC is a private multinational enterprise engaged in distribution, manufacturing, services, and investments. OFC operates in more than 40 countries and is one of the largest investors in the Saudi and regional stock markets.

Ms. Lubna’s first significant appearance was in 2004 where she was the first woman in Saudi history to deliver an opening keynote at a major conference at the Jeddah Economic Forum. Also in the same year, she was elected to the board of Saudi Hollandi Bank. In 2006 and 2007, Ms. Olayan joined the International Advisory Boards of Rolls Royce and Citigroup. She is also the member of the International Business Council of the World Econonic Forum and the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations.

She also has significant roles in Saudi Arabia where she joined the Advisory Board of Effat College, a private and non-profit girl’s college in Jeddah.

Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal
The most significant figures in today’s Arab business world
From banking to media, one of the most significant figures in today’s Arab business world is Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

Prince Al-Waleed was born on March 7, 1955 to his father Prince Talal, the son of the founding king of Saudi Arabia, and his mother Mona Al-Solh, the Daughter of Lebanon’s first Prime Minister Riyad Al-Solh.

As a young man, Prince Al-Waleed completed his undergraduate studies in Menlo College in 1979 with a degree in business adminstration. Later on in 1985, he earned his master’s degree at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in the U.S.

His business career started right after his graduation from Menlo College in 1979. His business activities as an investor started when he bought shares in Citicorp in the 1990s when the firm was in distress. Now, his holdings in Citigroup account for $1billion, nearly double his initial investments in the 1990s of $550 million. After his investments in Citibank, he earned an international nickname as being the Saudi Warren Buffett.

Later, he made he made significant investments in large media companies such as AOL, Apple Inc., Motorola, News Corporation Ltd and other companies. Prince Al-Waleed also holds 10% stake in Euro Disney SCA, as well as real estate holdings in Four Seasons hotel chain and Plaza Hotel in New York.

Early in 2005, Al-Waleed purchased Savoy Hotel in London to be managed by Fairmont Hotels—in which he owns 16% stake. As of 2008, there are plans to construct the tallest building in the world, The Tower of One Mile. The tower , which is proposed by Al-Waleed’s own company, Kingdom Holding Company, is said to be a super tall skyscraper and the tallest tower in the world with a height of one mile (1609 meters).

In August 2009, his fortune was estimated to be US$16.3 billion and was ranked the 22nd richest person in the world.

Dr.Saad H. Al Barrak
The Deputy Chairman and the Managing Director of Zain
Dr. Saad Al Barrak is the Deputy Chairman and the Managing Director of Zain, one of the leading telecommunication companies in the Middle East. Al Barrak, of Kuwaiti nationality, is a distinguished engineer and businessman of international reputation.

He holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Systems Engineering from Ohio University, and a PhD in Information Systems & Technology Management from the University of London. He is also an alumnus of Harvard University.

Prior to his appointment with Zain (previously known as MTC), Dr. Al Barrak was Managing Director of International Turnkey Systems (ITS), one of the leading IT companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Under Dr. Al Barrak, ITS’s revenues grew from $5 million in 1985 to exceed $100 million in 2000.

Dr. Al Barrak was Vice-Chairman of the Social Development Office (SDO) of the Amiri Diwan in Kuwait; Chairman of Egyptian software developer IT Soft; Chairman of Arab Telecom; and a non-executive Director of Arab Management Association in Cairo.

Since his appointment as the CEO in 2002, Zain’s customer base has increased from 600,000 to a conglomerate of 24 operations with over 70 million active customers across the Middle East and Africa. In this period, Zain’s market capitalization on the Kuwait Stock Exchange has increased from less than US$2.5 billion to exceed $20 billion (September 30, 2009).

In 2003, he received the ‘E-businessman of the Year’ award in the region. Later in 2005, he received the Middle East’s ‘CEO of the Year’ award in the Information Communication Technology sector.

In September 2007, Dr. Al Barrak received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from leading industry magazine COMMSMEA. Dr. Al Barrak is also an Executive Board Member of Celtel International and a Member of the Board of the GSM Association.

Posted in Corporate & Business, Featured, Finance and Economy, TechnologyComments (32)

Have you got an iPad?

Have you got an iPad?

Apple never ceases to surprise us by providing the world with amazing inventions and innovative takes on age-old concepts. So what is the company’s newest gadget to hit the market? It’s the iPad, revealed to the public for the first time on January 27th. Read the full story

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Is Sport’s Biggest Brand Really Finished?

Is Sport’s Biggest Brand Really Finished?

He’s the world’s first billionaire athlete.  He’s won more awards and shattered more records than anyone in his field.  Even mentioning the sport brings to mind one iconic figure; golf is Tiger Woods. Read the full story

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How Will You Watch the 2010 World Cup?

How Will You Watch the 2010 World Cup?

It was one of the biggest media purchases of 2009, although results will not be seen for at least another three to five months.  Al Jazeera Sports, part of the region’s largest and most popular satellite operator Al Jazeera, has bought the rights to Arab Radio and Television’s (ART) sports content, including this year’s FIFA World Cup. Read the full story

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Times Square Goes Wireless

Times Square Goes Wireless

The best new show on Broadway is the swirling chaos of the city itself—and the seats are free! Inspired by technological innovations in cities like London, Hong Kong and Copenhagen, the city of New York has permanently closed five blocks in Times Square to traffic and installed 300 chairs and benches, where thousands of locals now join the tourists every day to experience the city in an entirely new way. Check out the highlights in this latest video produced by

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KidZania®, a new world of opportunities for children, opens today at The Dubai Mall

KidZania®, a new world of opportunities for children, opens today at The Dubai Mall

Middle East and Subcontinent’s first children’s edutainment centre

80,000 sq ft facility celebrates role playing by emulating 70 real-life professions

Activities tailored to promote physical and intellectual development of children

Emaar Retail joins hands with leading establishments Read the full story

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